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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Kansas and Missouri residents will be out during the next three weeks counting the birds in their states.
 
It's part of an annual national effort that began more than 100 years ago, called the Christmas Bird Count.
 
The count began Dec. 14 and will continue through Jan. 5. Bird enthusiasts plan gatherings or individuals simply count the number of birds they see in their backyards.
 
The Joplin Globe reports the bird count began in 1900, with only a few dozen observers in 25 locations. Last year, more than 71,000 people participated in 2,369 locations.
 
Audubon and other organizations use data collected in the count to determine the health of bird populations. If a certain species is declining, conservation measures can be implemented to help that species rebound.
 
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 11:49
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A startling admission from the EPA concerning radioactive waste at the Westlake Landfill.
 
At a meeting Monday night EPA officials admitted that they have found new radioactive waste outside of the existing fence line. The fence was erected to keep workers away from the buried waste.
 
Harvey Ferdman, policy advisor to Representative Bill Otto joined McGraw Tuesday morning. Ferdman says the EPA had new information about the waste coming in contact with groundwater, "The said and I wrote this down, they are now seeing it in more places than before. And that's a very big admission from the EPA to say that. They've been in the past saying, that it appeared not to be moving around."
 
The Westlake landfill is adjacent to the Bridgeton Landfill that is the site of an underground fire that has been smoldering for years.
 
Video: Policy Analyst Harvey Ferdman: EPA Says Radioactive Waste has Reached Groundwater 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 10:49
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is suing a small southeast Missouri town after police allegedly threatened to arrest a homeless couple for holding a sign asking for help.
 
The ACLU filed suit Monday on behalf of the homeless couple, Edward Gillespie and Brandalyn Orchard. The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau names the city of Miner and two unidentified police officers.
 
The lawsuit claims that in late September, Gillespie and Orchard were holding a sign that read, "Traveling. Anything helps. God bless." A Miner officer told them to leave.
 
The ACLU says the officer later showed copies of city ordinances related to vagrancy, begging and loitering. A second officer arrived and the couple was told to leave town or face arrest.
 
A Miner police spokesman declined comment.
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:48
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URBANA, Ill. (AP) - No injuries were reported after a suspected natural gas explosion in an unoccupied building on the University of Illinois campus.
 
The Champaign News-Gazette reports Tuesday morning's fire in Urbana was reported around 6 a.m.
 
The building was once a doctor's office and the former University Faculty Assistance Building.
 
Urbana Fire Chief Brian Nightlinger told the newspaper that authorities believe a natural gas leak sparked the explosion and subsequent fire that shot flames into the sky.
 
He says investigators will plan to disassemble the rest of the building to reach debris that's burning inside.
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:47
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Despite early reports of shots fired and broken glass at Kirkwood High School police are now saying that broken light bulbs are cause for the scare.  Reports say vandals may have been the cause or possibly simply a box of light bulbs falling to the ground.  School to resume at 9 am.  

 

 

Early report below

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 07:45
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   Long-time St. Louis newsman Larry Conners is taking his age discrimination claims against his former employer to court.  Conners, 66, is suing KMOV-TV for $50,000, alleging that younger and less-experienced employees got better assignments and treatment.

   The veteran broadcaster had filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint after he was fired in May.  

   His dismissal came about a week after he posted controversial comments to Facebook.  Conners had suggested he may have been targeted by the IRS after a 2012 interview with President Barack Obama.  

   KMOV general manager Mark Pimentel told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the station will "vigorously defend" itself against Connors' claims.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 02:27
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - After months of legal wrangling and false starts in a battle to resume domestic horse slaughter, plants in New Mexico and Missouri are working to begin processing equine for human consumption.
 
   The efforts come on the heels of an order late Friday by a federal appeals court that lifted an emergency stay on the companies' plans.
 
   Blair Dunn, an Albuquerque who represents Valley Meat Co. of Roswell and Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., says the plants Monday "are pushing full steam ahead to be ready to go as soon as possible."
 
   Rains Natural Meats, he says, even has horses on site. But it's unclear if the plants will open before Christmas or wait until after the holidays.
 
   The Humane Society vows "the fight for America's horses is not over."
Monday, 16 December 2013 17:29
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CHICAGO (AP) - A federal court is ordering an Illinois county clerk's office to issue a marriage license to any same-sex couple who wants to wed immediately because one of them has a life-threatening illness.
 
Illinois last month became the 16th state to legalize gay marriage, but couples can't apply for licenses until June 1.
 
But following U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman order Monday to the Cook County clerk's office, they will be able to marry straightaway if they can provide a doctor's note saying one partner has a life-threatening illness.
 
Two Chicago women became the first same-sex couple to wed in Illinois last month after they asked a federal judge for an expedited license. Gay rights advocates say three gay couples have been granted emergency marriage license applications in Cook County.
 
Monday, 16 December 2013 17:27
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And you might be noticing that your mail is arriving a bit later in the day.

 

The Post-Dispatch reporting that some people are not getting their mail until as late as 9PM. That is the holiday crunch--the service has seen a 43-percent increase in volume this month.

 

The Postal Service has hired 145 employees locally to ease the burden, but many are still learning the ropes.

Monday, 16 December 2013 17:07
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