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   Parents in the De Soto School District are being warned about an outbreak of scabies.  

   District 73 officials sent a letter home with students Thursday notifying parents that one high school student, a junior high student, and an elementary student have been sent home with the skin condition.  

   Scabies is caused by tiny mites burrowing beneath the skin.  It's extremely itchy and highly contagious.  

   District officials say they are taking steps to disinfect schools.

   Students with scabies can't return to school without a doctor's note.

   De Soto is about 50 miles south of St. Louis in Jefferson County.

 
Friday, 15 November 2013 03:51
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   CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Department of Insurance and the state's major health insurer say they are reviewing changes to the health law announced Thursday by President Barack Obama that address policy cancellations.

   Obama said insurers can continue to sell policies canceled under the Affordable Care Act for at least one more year to existing customers. But insurers aren't required to continue the canceled plans.

   Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois officials say the company is "determining next steps" and will reach out to consumers who may have new options as a result of Obama's announcement.

   A spokesman says Illinois Insurance Director Andrew Boron has been in contact with federal authorities and is evaluating options, keeping in mind what's best for the state's consumers.

   At least 4 million Americans have received cancellation notices.

 
Friday, 15 November 2013 03:19
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   A two-alarm brush fire that destroyed several buildings in rural Franklin County Thursday night is prompting a warning from fire officials.  

   It took dozens of firefighters more than an hour to extinguish a brush fire along Highway BB near Beverly Court in Cedar Hill.  No one was hurt, but the fire destroyed a camper and several out buildings in the rural community.

   Cedar Hill Fire Chief Terry Soer says the blaze began as a controlled burn that got out of hand.  The chief told Fox 2 News that brush fires are a real risk this time of year.

"Right now we're really concerned because of the low humidity," he said.  "The leaf cover is very heavy.  Obviously, we're encouraging people -- no burning outside, or anything like that."

   Chief Soer says the rain that's expected this weekend will take some of the pressure off.

 
Friday, 15 November 2013 03:09
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   Six people who operated or worked for a St. Louis County-based prearranged funeral company are going to prison for terms ranging from 18 months to 10 years for defrauding customers.  

   The owner of National Prearranged Services, James "Doug" Cassity and his son, Brent Cassity avoided possible life terms by striking plea deals over the summer.  

   Federal prosecutors say the defendants sentenced Thursday operated a business that was nothing more than an elaborate Ponzi scheme and bilked more than 97,000 customers out of nearly a half-billion dollars.  

   All six defendants were ordered to turn themselves in after the holidays.

Friday, 15 November 2013 03:00
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   SAN DIEGO (AP) — The job is one of the most dangerous in the Marine Corps.

   The four Marines killed Wednesday while clearing unexploded ordnance at California's Camp Pendleton were bomb removal technicians. It is one of the few positions in which the Marine Corps allows team members to quit at any time. That's because their mental focus could mean the difference between life or death, either for themselves or their fellow troops.

   Few quit, despite the inherent risks that come with finding and getting rid of unexploded munitions — whether on the battlefield or on a U.S. base, according to former bomb technicians.

   The four were killed around 11 a.m. during a routine sweep to make a range safer for future training exercises at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, said a Marine official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. There was no live firing on the range at the time.

   Base officials said they would not release details until an investigation into the cause of the accident is concluded. They released the names of the dead Thursday night.

   They were Staff Sgt. Mathew R. Marsh, 28, of Long Beach, Calif., Sgt. Miguel Ortiz, 27, of Vista, Calif., Gunnery Sgt. J. Mullins, 31, of Bayou L'Ourse, La., and Staff Sgt. Eric W. Summers, 32, of Poplar Bluff, Mo.

   One Navy Hospital Corpsman and two Marines near the accident had minor injuries, officials said.

   The bomb disposal community is a small, tight-knit one like no other within the Marine Corps. They are bonded by their fearlessness, mental strength and deep ties from losing so many members over the years, say former bomb technicians.

   The Corps currently has 715 explosive ordnance disposal technicians. During the Iraq war, Marines lost 20 bomb technicians, and another 24 have been killed in Afghanistan.

   The last fatal accident for a Marine bomb technician in the United States was about two decades ago, when one was killed while doing a range sweep at Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Corps base in Southern California, according to the Marine Corps.

   Retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. Brian Meyer said he was drawn to what is considered to be one of the Marine Corps' most dangerous jobs because of the challenge. Bomb technicians work in a team but are often entrusted to make decisions in the field on their own, such as whether it is safe enough to move unexploded ordnance or defuse a roadside bomb.

   Meyer was injured while trying to dispose of an IED in Helmand Province in Afghanistan on March 14, 2011. The homemade bomb blew off his right hand, right leg and three fingers on his left hand. He's lost more than a dozen fellow bomb technicians and knows about 15 others who have suffered injuries, like himself.

   "It's hard to pick out one specific reason why I wanted to do this job," he said, adding that he would do it all again. "It's not a job in which you call your supervisor to make a decision. You're often the expert. You make the calls and work independently. There's a lot of trust placed in you. You're part of an elite group."

   Those who become bomb technicians generally have already served four years in the Marine Corps. They undergo vigorous mental and physical screenings. The military scrutinizes their personal lives, checking to make sure they do not have any legal issues or other problems that could affect their job performance, said Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine Corps spokeswoman.

   "They really only take the most highly qualified Marine since they will be keeping their fellow Marines safe," she said. "If at any time there's an issue, like someone has (post-traumatic stress disorder), or is going through a divorce, they can ask to be removed because obviously safety is huge for this community."

   The Marine Corps does not have a shortage of candidates to fill the slots, Krebs said.

   Meyer said the job is "exhilarating." It requires math, problem-solving, and quick thinking. Some use bomb suits to protect themselves, but the suits can also pose more of a risk because they are cumbersome and easy to trip in, Meyer said. And, he added, they cannot protect against being hit by a direct explosion.

   It is not known whether the four Marines were in bomb suits or what equipment they were using.

   The team usually decides those details depending on the situation, said Meyer, who cleared a range at Pendleton in 2010.

   Explosives on artillery ranges on bases can vary in size, and clearing ranges can be as dangerous as diffusing bombs on the battlefield, Meyer said. Usually, the team marks a point from A to B, deciding what's movable and what's not. The team will group together the movable explosives, and then detonate them.

   "With unexploded ordnance, you can do everything right and stuff can still go sideways only because it's all so unpredictable," he said.

Friday, 15 November 2013 02:46
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Governor Nixon was on hand for the grand opening of a high-tech bioscience research company in the Central West End. Cofactor Genomics celebrated the opening of their $3.8 million dollar headquarters at the corner of Clayton and Sarah Streets. Jarret Glasscock is the CEO and founder, and he says the biotechnology industry is key to improving the St. Louis work force.

"We're hiring individuals and talent that is considering being on the west coast or the east coast and that's the talent we're competing for" said Nixon. "So as we continue to invest in this area and we gain that reputation, it becomes easier.  It's like a snowball effect, getting more talent here. So that's what we're hoping to have."

As part of the 10,000 squat foot expansion, Cofactor plans on hiring 24 new employees. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013 16:37
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With an executive order, Missouri joins rare company in the fight for marriage equality.

Governor Jay Nixon ordered to Department of Revenue to accept tax returns from same-sex couples who were married in another state. This move mirrors one made by the IRS that same-sex marriages in any state will be recognized for tax purposes.

Missouri is the first state that does not recognize the marriages of same-sex couples but gives those couples the ability to file jointly. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013 14:38
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A metro-east school was placed on lockdown as a precaution as police search for a suspect.

Fox 2 reports that shots were fired at a business near Caseyville Elementary School around 12:30 PM. The search was centered around Highway 157 near Caseyville. The school was locked down only as a precaution.

More details as they are available right here.

Thursday, 14 November 2013 14:09
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FARMINGTON, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri brother and sister have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for growing marijuana in their apartment.

The Daily Journal newspaper in Park Hills, Mo. reports that 24-year-old David DePriest was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison, and his 36-year-old sister, Natalie DePriest, received a 15-year sentence. Both lived in Farmington at the time of their arrest.

Their attorney, Dan Viets had asked for probation. Viets is state coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Assistant St. Francois County prosecutor Pat King had sought the maximum sentence against David DePriest, calling it a large-scale operation and noting that he had guns and bullet-proof vests. Viets said 12 plants and eight baby sprouts in a closet are not a large operation.

Thursday, 14 November 2013 12:32
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Officials with the University of Missouri - St. Louis say the North and South campuses are closed today, due to a water outage.

An email that went to students and faculty says all day and evening classes are canceled and everyone is excused.

No information on what caused to water outage was available. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013 12:30
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