Missouri and Illinois have a mutual interest in the most recent crew of the International Space Station. The Russian Soyuz arrived yesterday at the Space Station with two Russian astronauts and American Mike Hopkins. The Missouri native is also a former captain of the Fighting Illini football team. Hopkins was born in Lebanon, Mo. and grew up in Richland. While attending the University of Illinois to earn a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering he captained the U. of I. football team in 1991. Hopkins, a Colonel in the Air Force, will remain at the space station until mid-March. Officials at the school say he is the sixth alumnus to become an astronaut. A schedule of the sightings of the ISS can be found at: spotthestation.nasa.gov .
A traffic stop on I-64 in Illinois has led to the arrest of three men and the recovery of marijuana, an assault-style weapon, a handgun and $25,000. Illinois State Police say the men aroused suspicion when they were stopped on Tuesday because they appeared nervous while being questioned. That prompted a search of their vehicle. Authorities say the men, ranging in age from 19 to 27, were headed from Georgia to Colorado to buy marijuana when they were pulled over on Interstate 64 in Nashville, Illinois. The driver is charged with possessing marijuana and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. The passengers are facing a marijuana-possession charge.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois will receive nearly $540,000 in federal funds to expand the availability of fresh, locally grown produce.
Agriculture Director Bob Flider said Wednesday the money will come from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. It will be split among 12 projects focused on local produce.
Flider says Illinois' "fertile soil and favorable climate" are good for growing a variety of crops. He says the grants will help encourage production and make nutritious food available to more people.
Illinois is known for growing corn and soybeans. But it's the nation's largest pumpkin and horseradish producer in the nation and is among the top states for such crops as asparagus, cauliflower, green peas and lima beans.
The state has more than 117,000 acres of specialty crops which produce $137 million in sales.
Federal agents say a series of raids carried out across the metro area Wednesday were aimed a breaking up a major synthetic drug network.
Local law enforcement and at least five federal agencies teamed up to conduct simultaneous raids in St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Lincoln County and Jefferson County.
The DEA's acting agent in charge, James Shroba calls synthetic drugs a dangerous "new frontier" of drug use and abuse. "They hook kids with the idea that these are legal, synthetic drugs, when in fact, we know they're not," he said.
Shroba says yesterday's raids included sites that were being used to manufacture, package and distribute the drugs. "This is the tip of the iceberg," he said. "This is a significant, synthetic drug operation."
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A year after Illinois was sued and reached a settlement over inadequate conditions in its juvenile detention centers, two separate reports are detailing a number of conditions that the authors say must change.
The first report, submitted in federal court as part of the settlement, describes incarcerated teens mowing lawns during the school day, being improperly medicated and being routinely subjected to more solitary confinement than necessary.
Watchdog group the John Howard Association is releasing a separate review Thursday on conditions at a Kewanee facility specializing in treatment for juveniles with mental health issues.
Juvenile detention centers house more than 800 inmates between the ages of 13 and 20.
The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice says it is addressing the problems.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis-area woman has pleaded guilty to a scheme that cheated victims out of more than $80,000.
Sentencing is Jan. 9 for 46-year-old Theresa Moore, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to four felony fraud charges in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.
Federal prosecutors say Moore used aliases and claimed she worked in law enforcement or the legal profession as part of her scam. One victim was an elderly widower whom Moore convinced was the victim of identity theft. The man paid her more than $60,000 after Moore convinced him he would receive money as part of a legal settlement.
Authorities say an associate of Moore posed as a police detective to aid Moore in another scheme that cost the victim $20,000.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri businesses could face significantly higher costs for workers' compensation insurance next year.
An organization that projects workers' compensation insurance costs is forecasting that Missouri insurers will see an 11.6 percent increase in their claim costs in 2014. The projections by the National Council on Compensation Insurance often are used by insurance companies to set the premiums charged to businesses.
The increase is driven partly by a new Missouri law that seeks to shore up a financially troubled fund for disabled workers who suffer additional on-the-job injuries. The law shifts some types of claims out of the Second Injury Fund and into traditional workers' compensation insurance.
Businesses also could face a higher surcharge - on top of their regular workers' compensation premiums - to help replenish the Second Injury Fund.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Tina Meier has told the story of her 13-year-old daughter Megan's 2006 suicide to teachers, TV talk show hosts and parents across the country. Now she's helping to train local police officers on the unflinching, often brutal world of electronic harassment.
More than 70 officers from two dozen law enforcement agencies in Missouri and Illinois gathered Wednesday for a daylong cyberbullying workshop led by Maier. Her daughter killed herself after an Internet hoax led by an adult woman who lived four houses away from the Meier family in St. Charles County.
All but a handful of states now have laws covering either cyberbullying or electronic harassment. But Meier said prosecutors and judges remain reluctant to forcefully apply those statutes.
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. (AP) - A 60-year-old woman accused of abducting her baby grandson from Florida in 2000 moved around Missouri with the child for more than a decade, working at times in residential care facilities.
Sandy Hatte was arrested and charged this month with felony child abduction.
She appeared in Livingston County court Wednesday when a judge set a preliminary hearing for Oct. 23. Her lawyer, Melinda Troeger, declined comment.
The now-teenaged grandson has been reunited with his father and has returned to live with him in Alabama.
Investigators aren't saying how Hatte and the child got by or where they lived.
But an official with a Sedalia-based residential care company says Hatte worked for the company for a few years and was a "very good employee."
The United Mine Workers says 15 protesters were arrested in a non-violent demonstration outside the Peabody Energy Corporation building in downtown St. Louis Tuesday.
Patriot Coal was spun off from the energy company in 2007 and filed for bankruptcy last year. A federal appeals court ruled in August that Peabody Energy remains obligated to maintain health-care benefits for more than 3,100 retirees of Heritage Coal, another Peabody spinoff company.