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.
CHICAGO (AP) - There are published reports Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady is planning to step down for personal reasons.
The reports have Brady announcing his resignation on Tuesday.
Republican State Rep. Jim Durkin told the Chicago Sun-Times Brady is "leaving on terms that he's imposed on himself." Durkin says Brady, who he calls a dear friend, wants to spend more time with his family.
Social conservatives have called for Brady's removal, in part because he took a stand in favor of gay marriage earlier this year. They also cite Republicans' poor showing in the 2012 election.
Brady in March survived an attempt by GOP committeemen to vote him out. That effort failed amid concerns that getting rid of him would reflect poorly on a party that's trying to expand its appeal.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois union leaders are encouraging lawmakers to support a pension reform proposal that they recently agreed on with the state's Senate president.
A coalition of unions announced Monday that it reached an agreement with Senate President John Cullerton on a possible solution to the state's $97 billion pension crisis.
Michael Carrigan is the president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. He says the group is trying to ensure fairness for public employees and retirees. The union-backed measure gives workers and retirees a choice of benefit packages.
Carrigan says the group is asking legislators to oppose a solution that House Speaker Michael Madigan backs. Madigan's plan calls for higher pension contributions from employees and limits on how much in pension benefits retirees may collect.
The former mayor of Caseyville, Illinois wants the ballots from the April election recounted. That's because George Chance lost his reelection bid by only four votes -- after 27 years in office.
Chance was entitled to a discovery examination of 25% of the ballots. That took place Monday. Chance says he's already found one vote that was miscounted, so he plans to ask a judge to have all of the ballots tallied again.
The new mayor, Leonard Black has already taken office, but says he can't blame Chance for wanting a full recount.
Mayor Black told Fox 2 News that he'd probably do the same thing if he'd lost by such a narrow margin. "I probably would," he said. "I don't hold that against Mr. Chance. I would do the same thing. I mean it's close enough that it's reasonable."
The final vote count was 576-to-572.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have until Friday to finalize the state's roughly $25 billion operating budget.
The House and Senate have each passed their own budget and now must hammer out an agreement on the spending plan that will take effect July 1. Budget negotiators were scheduled to begin formal talks Monday, but delayed that until Tuesday.
The House and Senate must reconcile differences on higher education funding and whether to keep intact cuts made to state agencies over concerns about the new drivers' license procedures.
One item not up for debate this week is Gov. Jay Nixon's plan to draw down nearly $1 billion from the federal government to expand Medicaid coverage for about 260,000 adults. Neither the House nor Senate included the federal money in their budget proposals.
FESTUS, Mo. (AP) - One of the oldest residents of Missouri has died at age 110.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Ada "Irene" Cooper of Jefferson County died Saturday, according to an obituary from Vinyard Funeral Home in Festus.
The Post-Dispatch wrote a story in 2007 on Ada Cooper and her sister, Hazel Reeder. At the time, Mrs. Cooper was 105 and Ms. Reeder was 102. She died at age 104.
The sisters grew up on a farm in Ste. Genevieve County and attended a one-room schoolhouse.
Mrs. Cooper was married to her husband, Wendell, for 67 years before he died in 1992, at age 100.
Mrs. Cooper's funeral is at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Vinyard Funeral Home.