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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Damage reports from Wednesday storms still coming in

Thursday, 11 April 2013 06:08 Published in Around Town

   Franklin County officials reported damage county-wide.  That includes widespread roof and tree damage.  Sullivan was one of the hardest hit areas in the county.   Several mobile homes were damaged at the Jergenson mobile home park.  At least 4 people were injured there, mainly broken bones.  Rescue crews have gone door to door, searching for additional victims.  The storm struck the 1st Baptist Church in Union during a church service.  Worshippers evacuated to a safe area of the church, which lost a large portion of it's roof, but no one was injured.

   The cleanup will be long and arduous in Hazelwood after a tornado reportedly touched down their during last night's storms.  Strike teams from St. Charles County were called in to assist local authorities about 8:30 p.m.  Fire crews from St. Charles and the City of St. Louis were also called in.  Ground zero was near Howdershell and Lynn Haven.  At least one person became trapped after a tornado tossed a large tree onto a home at Howdershell and Octavia.  Several buildings were damaged in that area and police have closed the roads leading into the neighborhood.  The good news:  There have been no reports of serious injuries in Hazelwood.

   Multiple Tornado Warnings were issued for St. Charles County. Projected paths included St. Peters, Cottleville, and St. Charles; 370 Park; and West Alton. Radar also indicated rotation between O’Fallon and Lake St. Louis, as well as in the area near Defiance.  Power outages are minimal in St. Charles County, but there are other problems, including road closures.  Highway 94 is blocked just east of Portage des Sioux because of downed power poles and wires.  A spokesperson for the county says they're not sure when that will be cleared.  Also there's water covering Hwy H at Hwy 94. Multiple utility lines down or arcing in Dardenne Prairie, St. Peters, O’Fallon, and unincorporated county. And lightning strikes were reported in Lake St. Louis, Dardenne Prairie, Cottleville, and unincorporated areas.

   Damage is also being reported in the Hill neighborhood of South St. Louis.  In the 5600 block of Columbia, two homes were heavily damaged.  The roof was ripped off one home and strewn across the block, causing additional damage to cars and other homes.




   South Korean officials are playing down security fears on the peninsula amid what seem to be daily threats from the North and a warning that a nuclear war was imminent.

   A Defense Ministry official in Seoul says South Korea has deployed three naval destroyers, an early warning surveillance aircraft and a land-based radar system.

   But many North Koreans are focused today on the first anniversary of their leader's appointment as head of the ruling Worker's Party.

   Still, at the border: North Korea remains tense as more South Korean workers return.




MO lawmakers take aim at driver's license procedures

Thursday, 11 April 2013 04:16 Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House wants to block the scanning and computer storage of personal documents needed to get a driver's license or state identification card.

   Legislation given initial approval 141-14 on Wednesday would bar the Revenue Department from scanning documents needed for driver's licenses or concealed weapons permits. Documents that have been scanned would need to be destroyed.

   The bill needs another vote before moving to the Senate, where members have criticized the driver's license procedure.

   Previously, license clerks looked at applicants' documents, took a photo and printed the license. Under the new system, licenses are printed and mailed by a contractor several days after people apply. Revenue Department officials have said the new procedure makes licenses more secure and saves money.

   Some Missouri senators are pressing the state's driver's license agency to stop collecting documents from people with concealed gun permits.

   But the head of the agency said Wednesday he's reluctant to halt the practice.

   Since December, clerks in Missouri's local license offices have been making electronic copies of concealed weapons permits for a state database of driver's license applicants. Concealed gun endorsements are noted on driver's licenses.

   Some Republican lawmakers have expressed concern about the document database. During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday, Chairman Kurt Schaefer asked the Revenue Department to stop making and keeping copies of concealed gun permits.

   Revenue Director Brian Long said he's unwilling to commit to that, because the scanned documents provide protection against fraud. But Long also said he will consider it further.


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