ST. LOUIS (AP) - A new audit has found that a St. Louis agency that administers federal Head Start grants made nearly $340,000 in improper expenditures, mostly because of bad bookkeeping.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the audit by the Office of Inspector General recommends that the agency, YWCA of Metropolitan St. Louis, pay back the money.
Wrongdoing is not alleged. The discrepancies were within grant years 2008 and 2009.
YWCA CEO Adrian Bracy says in a letter to federal officials that discrepancies occurred after the agency's chief financial officer died suddenly.
The YWCA received more than $63 million in federal grants from 2007 to 2009 to create Head Start centers and slots for low-income preschoolers in independent child care centers and through subcontracts with the Urban League of St. Louis.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Farmers in the nation's breadbasket who only recently were praying for an end to a withering drought are now pining for enough sunshine and heat to dry their muddy fields in time to plant their corn and other crops.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says only 12 percent of the nation's cornfields have been planted. That's about a quarter of the amount farmers had planted by this point in the season over the last five years.
In Iowa, which is the nation's biggest corn producer, only 8 percent of the corn crop is in the ground. That's down from 62 percent at this point last year.
Farmer John Reifsteck says if he has to wait much longer, he may have to plant less corn on his 1,800-acre central Illinois farm.
LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) - A former St. Louis-area teacher is facing charges accusing him of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old student.
Prosecutors say 34-year-old Joseph Thomas Maddock of Lake St. Louis is charged with statutory sodomy.
He is jailed on $50,000 cash-only bond.
Authorities say Maddock, a former teacher at Andrews Academy, convinced the parents of the victim to allow him to home-school him.
Maddock has taught at 10 schools in the St. Louis metropolitan area since 2001. Anyone with additional information about the suspect is urged to contact Lake St. Louis police.
A homeless camp in downtown St. Louis stayed off the radar of city officials, until a fire last weekend.
The Post-Dispatch reports that "Camp Plum", as it is known, grew to over a dozen structures until some lit one of the tents on fire Saturday night. No one was hurt in the fire, but the city is moving everyone out of the camp.
Officials say the more than 20 residents should get housing vouchers to keep them off the street.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says income tax revenue for 2013 will top forecasts by $1.3 billion. He says he'll put the money toward the billions the state owes in unpaid bills.
The governor's office said Tuesday the money was a one-time windfall resulting from businesses and individuals selling assets or taking early dividends in anticipation of higher federal tax rates.
Quinn says the money is welcome but a one-time bump in revenue will not help fix the problem in the long run.
Illinois owes billions to businesses, charities and local governments performing some of the state's most essential services. The problem adds to the state's huge financial mess, which includes a soaring public pension crisis.
Quinn said Tuesday the focus must be on "restoring Illinois to full fiscal responsibility."
Cloudy skies and heavy rain over the past few weeks have delayed the strawberry harvest at Eckert's Orchards. The annual strawberry festival at the local orchard has been pushed back this season. Starting May 18th, customers will be able to purchase strawberries from the orchard. Customers can pick their own strawberries starting May 25. Last year, drought had a negative impact on the strawberry crop. This season's cold and wet weather is having a similar negative impact.
Newsweek Magazine and the Daily Beast.com have come out with their yearly list of the best two-thousand public high schools in America.
In Missouri, the top seven are all in St. Louis.
Ladue High School leads the list of Missouri public high schools as the most effective in turning out college ready grads. Nationwide--it came in at number 166 in the list of 2000.
The results are based on several components including graduation rate, college acceptance, standardized testing , ACT and SAT scores and percentage of students enrolled in at least one advanced course.
Clayton follows at second highest in Missouri and number 170 nationwide--followed by Metro Academic and Classical High in the city, Lindbergh, LaFayette, Kirwood and Francis Howell.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri public schools and universities will be getting a funding increase under an agreement by legislative budget negotiators.
A group of House and Senate members decided Tuesday to provide a $25 million funding increase to public colleges and universities based on whether they have met performance criteria such as student graduation rates. That's less than the $34 million increase sought by Gov. Jay Nixon but more than the House had approved earlier this year.
The budget also includes $10 million for the University of Missouri medical school to expand a residency program at the Cox Health system in Springfield.
Public school districts would get a $66 million increase to their $3 billion of core funding - the same amount Nixon recommended.
A tragic accident claims the life of a well-liked teacher and coach in O'Fallon, Illinois.
The Belleville News Democrat reports 33-year-old O'Fallon Township High School teacher Matt Seipp died Monday at St. Louis University Hospital after falling from a ladder on Sunday.
Seipp, who also owned Seipp Lawn Care LLC in O'Fallon, was well-known throughout the community.
The paper reports O'Fallon Police Chief John Betten says Seipp apparently died as a result of injuries after falling off a ladder Sunday.
Betten said officers responded to a 911 call at 12:36 p.m. Sunday for a male victim with unknown injuries in the 800 block of Scott-Troy Road.
When officers and emergency workers arrived on scene, Betten said they determined the victim had fallen from a ladder while working in the garage and sustained injuries to his head. He was transported to Anderson Hospital in Maryville with the intent of meeting ARCH Air Medical Services there. Rainy weather prevented the crew from flying.
O'Fallon EMS proceeded to transport Seipp by ambulance to St. Louis University Hospital. A spokesman for the hospital declined to give Seipp's condition and referred questions to the family, which is standard policy when a death has occurred. Members of the immediate family could not be reached.
Seipp was a teacher in the industrial technology department at OTHS. He began his career at OTHS during the 2002-03 school year.
He also served as assistant baseball coach for the O'Fallon Panthers in 2003 and 2004. Seipp is survived by his wife, Jodie, and infant son, Drew. Jodie Bell Seipp also works at OTHS as chair of the English Department.
Students, colleagues and friends of Seipp flooded Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites with tributes.
Guidance counselors and social workers are available at O'Fallon Township High School for any student or employee needing assistance, according to Benway. Flags at all O'Fallon schools are being flown at half-staff in Seipp's memory, Benway said.
Funeral arrangements are pending at Schildknecht Funeral Home in O'Fallon.
Edwardsville Police are asking the public to help them catch a bank robbery.
Investigators say about 2:00 Monday afternoon, a man held up the Scott Credit Union branch in the 1000 block of North Bluff Road. The suspect gave a note to a teller, demanding money and implying he had a weapon.
The bank robber got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.
He's described as a white man in his early to mid 20s.
Anyone able to identify this subject or who has information regarding the robbery should call Detective Sergeant Michael Lybarger of the Edwardsville Police Department at (618) 656.2131.