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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two former top St. Louis parks officials face December federal sentencing now that they've admitted stealing nearly half a million dollars from the city since 2005.
Thomas "Dan" Stritzel, the city's 43-year-old chief park ranger, and the deputy parks commissioner, 55-year-old Joseph Vacca, each pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud involving the theft of roughly $465,000.
A May indictment alleged that from January 2005 through the end of last year, Stritzel and Vacca used false or inflated invoices to funnel the pilfered city funds through sham companies. Prosecutors say they spent the money on vehicles, paying off credit card debt, and other expenses.
They each face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each count.
Court records show Vacca filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says officials violated state law by requiring driver's license clerks to make electronic copies of applicants' personal documents.
Schweich released an analysis Monday concluding the Department of Revenue broke state law by implementing the policy last December without publishing a formal rule change.
That policy ended in July as a result of a bill passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor. But Schweich had been asked in April by senators to look into the policy.
The auditor's office says the document scanning policy did not technically violate a separate state law prohibiting Missouri from amending its procedures to comply with the federal Real ID proof-of-identity law. But had the department published a rule, Schweich said it would have violated the anti-Real ID law.
During his verbal sparring with Texas governor Rick Perry, Missouri Governor Nixon said states shouldn't be poaching business from each other, but should be looking to foreign markets to bolster their economies. It appears his Illinois colleague would agree.
Governor Pat Quinn has released some figures about the Illinois economy during his trip to Japan. Quinn's office says more than 2,000 foreign-owned businesses employ more than 350,000 people in Illinois. State officials say Japan and the United Kingdom are the top contributors. That number has gone up about 70 thousand positions since 2009.
Quinn has been in Japan since Friday with his trip scheduled to end Tuesday.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio driver who made an online video confessing to causing a fatal wrong-way crash after drinking heavily has turned himself in on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide.
In a 3 1/2-minute video posted last week, Matthew Cordle admits that he killed 61-year-old Vincent Canzani, of Gahanna, on June 22. He says in the video that he will plead guilty and take full responsibility.
Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien says the 22-year-old Powell man faces up to 8 1/2 years in prison if convicted.
Cordle surrendered at Franklin County Jail on Monday and has an arraignment scheduled for Tuesday.
Cordle also is charged with a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
More than two dozens vehicles were broken into near LouFest over the weekend.
Police say thieves targeted a total of 29 vehicles on Sunday. Most of the vehicles were parked in the 5100 block of Clayton. Owners reported various electronics were taken. Police say the thefts occurred in the evening, with the majority concentrated between 9 and 10 PM.
The musical festival was held in the park on Saturday and Sunday.
A Carlinville, Illinois bar owner ended up in the hospital after an attack last week.
Deborah Borre, the owner of Hollywood and Vine, was closing shop Friday night, when Jamal Zollicoffer allegedly attacked her. After the beating, Borre drove the police station to report the incident. She was taken to the hospital.
Police caught Zollicoffer and prosecutors filed robbery and assault charges against him. He is held on a $75,000 bond.
The search for a missing a 7 year old Effingham County, Illinois girl will continue overnight.
Authorities and hundreds of volunteers have been looking for Willow Long since she disappeared from her Watson, Illinois home on Sunday. The Effingham County Sheriff's Department has sent the volunteers home for the night so that an Illinois State Police Flare Plane, which detects heat, won't pick up false readings during the overnight search.
Willow is about four-feet tall and weighs just 46 pounds. She has shoulder-length red hair and was wearing a long purple t-shirt as a nightgown. Willow's mother says she checked on the kids Sunday morning before taking a nap. When she woke up, Willow was gone.
The Effingham County Sheriff's Department is coordinating the search and investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities at 217-342-2101.
Illinois lawmakers are criticizing the cost of renovations at the state capitol. The price tag for the upgrades in Springfield are approaching $50-million. The Chicago Sun Times reports the cost includes $80-thousand sculptures and chandeliers and $670-thousand copper-plated wooden doors. Democrats and Republicans alike are now questioning the bidding process and Republican Representative Jim Durkin says, "I'm embarrassed to say that this went on without anyone's knowledge that I'm aware of. And we have some egg on our face." The renovation is being funded by construction bonds that were part of a $31-billion capital construction plan approved by the Legislature.
Traffic scofflaws now have a chance to avoid jail time. Later this week, Maplewood and Richmond Heights will offer three warrant amnesty days for traffic offenders. Starting on Thursday and running through Saturday, people with traffic warrants can personally appear and simply pay a $200 bond. Your court date will then be rescheduled. Hours and locations of where to go to clear your name can be found on our website at ktrs.com.
Thursday, September 12, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Friday, September 13, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 14, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Maplewood Cases: 7601 Manchester. Maplewood, MO 63143. (314) 646-3628
Richmond Heights: 7447 Dale. Richmond Heights, MO 63117. (314) 645-1982 ext. 3
Big news for Elton John fans. The Rocket Man himself will be performing in St. Louis this November. Sir Elton and his band will take the stage at Chaifetz Arena November 24th. It's all part of 13-city tour that will feature hits from John's five-decade long career. Tickets go on sale September 16th at 10am. No word yet on how much those tickets will set you back.