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FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Thousands of St. Louis area residents hoping to avoid extended legal entanglements are flocking to events this week that give low-level offenders a second chance to resolve outstanding warrants and avoid arrest.
Hundreds came to St. Louis Community College's Florissant Valley campus Wednesday morning to receive vouchers they can use at participating courts. The vouchers and a nominal payment allow participants to schedule future court dates on their own rather than going to jail if stopped for an unrelated traffic violation.
Event organizer James Clark of the Better Family Life community group emphasizes that the program is not a "get out of jail free card." He says it helps keeps otherwise law-abiding citizens out of the penal system while also generating needed revenue for the 43 participating municipalities.
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A Florida prison inmate says he knows what happened to a St. Louis-area boy who disappeared 25 years ago, and authorities in Missouri are trying to determine if his story is legitimate.
Scott Kleeschulte of St. Charles was 9 when he disappeared on June 8, 1988, while walking near a wooded area not far from his home.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 47-year-old Chuck Miceli is a former police officer from the Chicago area who has turned informant on several cases. Miceli was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2010 on a federal fraud charge.
He has claimed a former cellmate abducted Scott. St. Charles authorities have spent the past seven weeks checking his story.
The Kleeschulte family declined comment.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A long-delayed project to close a huge levee gap and improve drainage in southeast Missouri is moving forward.
The Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday announced plans for public meetings to discuss a proposed environmental impact statement for the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project. Meetings will be Aug. 27 in East Prairie, Mo., and Aug. 28 in nearby Cairo, Ill.
The levee holds back the Mississippi River from agricultural land in the Missouri Bootheel region, but it has a 1,500-foot gap.
A $100 million project that also includes drainage improvements in the Missouri towns of Charleston, East Prairie and Sikeston was given the go-ahead in 2006 but halted a year later over concerns raised by environmentalists. A federal judge agreed to put the project on hold.