Click for St. Louis, Missouri Forecast

// a href = ./ // St Louis News, Weather, Sports, The Big 550 AM, St Louis Traffic, Breaking News in St Louis

 
 
 
KTRS News

KTRS News

Food for Thought will help hungry students

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 10:14 Published in Local News
HAZELWOOD, Mo. (AP) - A St. Louis area school district has launched a food pantry program to help ensure needy students don't go without nourishment outside the school day.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Hazelwood School District's "Food For Thought" program is the second in the area. The Jennings district opened one for its students in the fall of 2012.
Hazelwood's pantries will be housed at the district's three high schools. But they'll be available to all students who lack a reliable source of food for evenings, weekends and other breaks from school.
 About 57 percent of Hazelwood students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, compared to nearly 50 percent statewide.  
 

SOCHI STILL SCRAMBLING TO SELL OLYMPIC TICKETS

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 09:55 Published in National News

LONDON (AP) — What if they held an Olympics and nobody came?

The situation isn't that bleak, of course, for the Sochi Games. Yet, with less than three weeks to go until the opening ceremony, hundreds of thousands of tickets remain unsold, raising the prospect of empty seats and a lack of atmosphere at Russia's first Winter Olympics.

There are signs that many foreign fans are staying away, turned off by terrorist threats, expensive flights and hotels, long travel distances, a shortage of tourist attractions in the area, and the hassle of obtaining visas and spectator passes.

"Some people are scared it costs too much and other people are scared because of security," senior International Olympic Committee member Gerhard Heiberg of Norway told The Associated Press. "From my country, I know that several people and companies are not going for these two reasons. Of course, there will be Norwegians there but not as many as we are used to."

Sochi organizers announced last week that 70 percent of tickets have been sold for the games, which run from Feb. 7-23 and represent a symbol of pride and prestige for Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

So what about the remaining 30 percent?

"We are keeping a special quota for those who come for the games, so that they can indeed buy tickets for the competitions," organizing committee chief Dmitry Chernyshenko said.

Chernyshenko said about 213,000 spectators are expected at the games, with about 75 percent likely to be Russians.

"Tickets are being snapped up fast with the most popular events being hockey, biathlon, figure skating, freestyle and snowboard," the organizing committee said in a statement to the AP. "With 70 percent of tickets already sold and another ticketing office opening shortly, we are expecting strong last-minute ticket sales and do not envisage having empty seats."

Sochi officials have refused to divulge how many tickets in total were put up for sale, saying the figure would only be released after the games.

However, according to IOC marketing documents seen by the AP, Sochi had a total of 1.1 million tickets on offer. That would mean about 300,000 tickets remained available.

By comparison, 1.54 million tickets were available for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and 97 percent (1.49 million) were sold. For the 2012 Summer Games in London, organizers sold 97 percent (8.2 million) of their 8.5 million tickets.

Heiberg, who chairs the IOC marketing commission, said the Russians have cut down by 50 percent on the number of spectators originally planned for the mountain events for security reasons.

"That means there will be less people and probably less enthusiasm than we had, for instance, in Lillehammer," he said. "I hope the Russians will fill not only their indoor stadiums but there will be enough people in the stadiums for the Nordic events."

Heiberg organized the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, which stood out for the colorful atmosphere generated by passionate Norwegian fans.

Sochi's ticket sales began in February 2013, a year before the games. Tickets have been sold on Sochi's official website on a first-come, first-served basis. Box offices are now open in Moscow and Sochi.

The cheapest tickets go for 500 rubles ($15), the most expensive for 40,000 rubles ($1,200). More than half of all tickets cost less than 5,000 rubles ($150). The average monthly salary in Russia is 30,000 rubles ($890).

The one and only authorized ticket office in Sochi was busy on a recent afternoon, with three dozen people lining up at what once was a waiting room at the city's railway station. Many, however, complained that all the cheap tickets were already gone.

"Prices leave much to be desired, but what can you can do?" said Sochi resident Yana Ivolovskaya, who bought two tickets for bobsled for 2,000 rubles ($60). "We're not going to get another Olympics in Sochi so I thought I should go."

Fans outside Russia buy tickets from authorized dealers appointed by their national Olympic committees.

Attracting foreign visitors has been a challenge amid all the headlines about Russia's law banning gay "propaganda," human rights issues and — particularly — the risk of terrorism.

Back-to-back suicide bombings killed 34 people last month in Volgograd, about 400 miles (640 kilometers) from Sochi. On Sunday, an Islamic militant group in Russia's North Caucasus claimed responsibility for the bombings and posted a video threatening to strike the Sochi Games.

CoSport, the official ticket reseller in the United States and six other countries, said the Sochi Games generated "good demand" for tickets and packages.

"We experienced demand at expected levels," spokesman Michael Kontos said, without giving figures.

Flights to Sochi are expensive, and most international travelers have to go through Moscow, with direct flights to Sochi only available from Germany and Turkey.

Western travelers must navigate the time-consuming visa process and requirement to obtain a "spectator pass" along with their tickets. This requires providing passport details that allow authorities to screen all visitors.

"What we are hearing is that the bureaucratic complexity, with spectator passes and visa and so on, is what scares off fans, more than worries about security," Austrian Olympic Committee spokesman Wolfgang Eichler said.

Jan Serenander, managing director of Jet Set Sports in Norway, cited a lack of tourist attractions in the Black Sea resort.

"When Sochi was announced no one had even heard of the place," he said. "They had to get out their atlases."

Die-hard winter sports fans, however, will not be discouraged. Orange-clad speedskating fans from the Netherlands are always among the most visible spectators at any Winter Games.

"I expect it to be orange," Jeroen de Roever, manager of official Duch ticket seller ATPI, said of Sochi's speedskating venue. "We have been sold out for quite a while."

___

Associated Press writers Nataliya Vasilyeva in Sochi, Eric Willemsen in Vienna, Matti Huuhtanen in Helsinki, Mike Corder in The Hague and Nesha Starcevic in Frankfurt contributed to this report.

CHICAGO ARCHDIOCESE HID DECADES OF CHILD SEX ABUSE

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 09:40 Published in National News

CHICAGO (AP) -- After a 13-year-old boy reported in 1979 that a priest raped and threatened him at gunpoint to keep quiet, the Archdiocese of Chicago assured the boy's parents that, although the cleric avoided prosecution, he would receive treatment and have no further contact with minors.

But the Rev. William Cloutier, who already had been accused of molesting other children, was returned to ministry a year later and went on to abuse again before he resigned in 1993, two years after the boy's parents filed a lawsuit. Officials took no action against Cloutier over his earliest transgressions because he "sounded repentant," according to internal archdiocese documents released Tuesday that show how the archdiocese tried to contain a mounting scandal over child sexual abuse.

For decades, those at the highest levels of the nation's third-largest archdiocese moved accused priests from parish to parish while hiding the clerics' histories from the public. The documents, released through settlements between attorneys for the archdiocese and victims, describe how the late Cardinals John Cody and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin often approved the reassignments. The archdiocese removed some priests from ministry, but often years or decades after the clergy were known to have molested children.

While disturbing stories of clergy sexual abuse have wrenched the Roman Catholic Church across the globe, the newly released documents offer the broadest look yet into how one of its largest and most prominent American dioceses responded to the scandal.

The documents, posted online Tuesday, cover only 30 of the at least 65 clergy for whom the archdiocese says it has substantiated claims of child abuse. Vatican documents related to the 30 cases were not included, under the negotiated terms of the disclosure.

The records also didn't include the files of former priest Daniel McCormack, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to abusing five children and whose case prompted an apology from George and an internal investigation of how the archdiocese responds to abuse claims.

But the more than 6,000 pages include internal communications between church officials, disturbing testimony about specific abuses, meeting schedules where allegations were discussed, and letters from anguished parishioners. The names of victims, and details considered private under mental health laws were redacted.

Cardinal Francis George said in a letter distributed to parishes last week that the archdiocese agreed to turn over the records in an attempt to help the victims heal. `'I apologize to all those who have been harmed by these crimes and this scandal," George wrote.

Officials in the archdiocese said most of the abuse detailed in the files released Tuesday occurred before 1988, none after 1996, and that all these cases ultimately were reported to authorities.

But victims' lawyers argue many of the allegations surfaced after George assumed control of the archdiocese in 1997, and some of the documents relate to how the church handled the cases more recently.

"The issue is not when the abuse happened; the issue is what they did once it was reported," said Chicago attorney Marc Pearlman, who has represented about 200 victims of clergy abuse in the Chicago area.

When a young woman reported in 1970 that she'd been abused as a teen, for example, Cody assured the priest that the "whole matter has been forgotten" because "no good can come of trying to prove or disprove the allegations."

Accused priests often were quietly sent away for a time for treatment or training programs, the documents show. When the accused clerics returned, officials often assigned them to new parishes and asked other priests to monitor them around children.

In one 1989 letter to Bernardin, the vicar for priests worries about parishioners discovering the record of the Rev. Vincent E. McCaffrey, who was moved four times because of abuse allegations.

"Unfortunately, one of the key parishioners ... received an anonymous phone call which made reference by name to Vince and alleged misconduct on his part with young boys," wrote vicar for priests, the Rev. Raymond Goedert. "We all agreed that the best thing would be for Vince to move. We don't know if the anonymous caller will strike again."

When the archdiocese tried to force accused clergy into treatment or isolate them at church retreats, some of the priests refused, or ignored orders by church administrators to stay away from children.

Church officials worried about losing parishioners and "potential priests" over abuse scandals. "This question I believe is going to get stickier and stickier," Patrick O'Malley, then-vicar for priests, wrote in a 1992 letter.

Then, in 2002, a national scandal about dioceses' failures to stop abusers consumed the American church. U.S. bishops nationwide adopted a toughened disciplinary policy and pledged to remove all guilty priests from church jobs in their dioceses.

But for many victims, it was too little and too late.

"Where was the church for the victims of this sick, demented, twisted pedophile?" one man wrote in a 2002 letter to George about abuse at the hands of the Rev. Norbert Maday, who was imprisoned in Wisconsin after a 1994 conviction for molesting two boys. "Why wasn't the church looking out for us? We were children, for God's sake."

---

Associated Press reporters Jason Keyser, Don Babwin and Michael Tarm contributed.

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

Latest News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Prev Next
Spending bill signed by Nixon includes $2M for Normandy School Dist.

Spending bill signed by Nixon includes $2M for Normandy…

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has signed a mid-year spending bill with funding for social services, education and a financially troubled St...

UPDATE: Missing So. County teen home safe

UPDATE: Missing So. County teen home safe

   A South County teen who had been the subject of an Endangered Person Advisory is home safe.      St. Louis County Police had issued the advisory ...

Railroad work delays drivers in Kirkwood

Railroad work delays drivers in Kirkwood

   Drivers on Kirkwood Road are used to waiting for the train, but that wait is a little longer today.      Union Pacific crews are making a critica...

GOP lawmakers introduce term limits bill

GOP lawmakers introduce term limits bill

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Republican leaders have introduced a proposal that would force statewide officers to serve a two-term limit.    Sena...

Kane leads Blackhawks past Blues, 4-3 in OT

Kane leads Blackhawks past Blues, 4-3 in OT

   CHICAGO (AP) - Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the game at 11:17 of overtime, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Wednesday night to e...

SLFD battles two-alarm home fire

SLFD battles two-alarm home fire

   Fire fighters are working to keep a two-alarm fire in north St. Louis from spreading to adjacent homes.      The blaze broke out in 5000 block of...

UPDATE: 3 American doctors killed by Afghan hospital guard

UPDATE: 3 American doctors killed by Afghan hospital gu…

   KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Police in Afghanistan say a security guard has opened fire in a Kabul hospital, killing three foreigners and wounding one other person. ...

Camilla's brother dies in NY of head injury

Camilla's brother dies in NY of head injury

   NEW YORK (AP) — The Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, are "utterly devastated" by the death of her brother, who fell outside a hotel bar and suffered a head in...

© 2013 KTRS All Rights Reserved