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Over 250 acres of land surrounding MidAmerica Airport will be appraised in an effort to develop the property into a business park. The Belleville News Democrat reports that Convenant Aerospace is interesting a building business park centered around the construction of cargo planes near the airport. The company estimates the venture could create nearly 2,200 jobs. MidAmerica hasn't turned a profit since opening in 1998 as an alternative to St. Louis' Lambert International Airport.
A man who was convicted of killing five members of a central Illinois family is set to be sentenced. Christopher Harris is scheduled to be sentenced this afternoon for five counts of first-degree murder. He faces a mandatory life sentence. The 34-year-old used a tire iron to kill five members of his ex-wife's family in 2009 in Beason, Illinois. He admitted killing 14-year-old Dillen Constant, but Harris' lawyers said he only did so after the teenager killed the rest of the family. Harris was also convicted of killing Dillen's mother, his stepfather, his 16-year-old sister, and 11-year-old stepbrother. The community of Beason is about 45 miles northeast of Springfield.
Ex-cons in the St. Louis area are getting a new lease on life thanks to grants from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Labor handed out a $1.4 million dollar grant to the Fathers' Support Center, which helps returning offenders reintegrate into society. The FSC works in partnership with the St. Louis Agency of Employment Training.
200 participants will take part in the program. Frederick Pearson is a recent graduate. He did 11 months in prison for stealing cars.
"I want to get a career instead of one of those dead-end jobs," Pearson said. "Being a part of this program is awesome."
According to Mayor Slay, ex-offenders who are enrolled in rehabilitation programs are 4 times more likely to stay out of trouble.