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A group of metro-east high school students will vie for the national title in the U.S. FIRST Robotics competition. Team 1208 from O'Fallon Township High School took first place in the weekend competition, along with its alliance partners Teams 3284 and 2408.

More than 40 teams from Missouri and four surrounding states participated in the event at the Chaifetz Arena.

The national championship competition will be held at the Edward Jones Dome in April.

This is the 24th year for the contest which is aimed at encouraging young people to be science and technology leaders.
Monday, 18 March 2013 04:53
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Crews haven't finished building it, but there's already been a crash on the New Mississippi River Bridge.

It happened about 2:00 Monday morning, when a pickup truck struck an car on Rte 3 in Brooklyn, Illinois. The truck pushed the car onto the bridge.

One passenger in the car was partially ejected. Both that passenger and the driver were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Police are now looking for the pickup driver. He reportedly stuck around long enough to flag down another motorist for help, then took off.
Monday, 18 March 2013 04:50
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Page Avenue is open again in Pagedale after an accident that toppled the traffic lights forced police to shut it down for much of the night.

The crash happened at Page and Pennsylvania about 1 o'clock Monday morning. An SUV struck the light pole, knocking it over and into the street.

There's no word on the cause of that crash, or if there were any injuries.
Monday, 18 March 2013 04:46
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- A Springfield woman is suing her former landlord over a fire that killed her three children.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that Violet Watson is asking in excess of $25,000 in damages in the suit filed this month in Green County.

The March 2010 fire killed 7-year-old Alexis Watson, 5-year-old Kelsey Watson and 4-year-old Devin Watson. The children's grandfather was seriously injured.

Initially, Violet Watson's then-fiance was charged with setting the fire. But the charge was dropped after laboratory tests found no trace of an accelerant. The cause of the fire is listed as undetermined.

The lawsuit says the landlords failed to maintain a safe property for the home's residents. The suit says there were smoke alarm issues and that the house had "faulty wiring."
Sunday, 17 March 2013 10:20
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- An evangelical Christian college located near the southwest Missouri resort town of Branson is making it difficult, if not impossible, for students to obtain any loans.

The Springfield News-Leader says the College of the Ozarks has stopped certifying private student loans. It's barred state and federal loans since the 1990s.

Longtime President Jerry C. Davis says "the driving force behind this is that debt is bad."

Of the school's 1,350 students, 250 to 300 of them currently receive a loan, often from a hometown bank. The college is taking steps to help students adjust. They include expanding summer work opportunities and freezing room-and-board costs.

The college itself is debt free. It makes sure it has cash in hand before doing things like building a residence hall.
Sunday, 17 March 2013 10:13
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A St. Louis man faces criminal charges in a crash that killed a 53-year-old man and seriously injured two others.

Forty-one-year-old Robert A. White was charged Friday with first-degree manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault and three counts of armed criminal action.

Police said White was driving a sport utility vehicle that T-boned another vehicle Thursday. Marcus Dorsey was killed and two passengers were hospitalized.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that White was treated for minor injuries and arrested.

Officials said White had fled the scene of an earlier accident with a St. Louis City License Collector's vehicle. Police said the driver of the city vehicle called 911 and followed the SUV.

The second crash was one or two miles away from the first.
Sunday, 17 March 2013 10:07
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis County man has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking for forcing two women into prostitution, including a mentally disabled woman.

Federal prosecutors say 26-year-old Carl Mathews of Breckenridge Hills pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court and faces sentencing June 12. His sister, 27-year-old Carla Mathews, also of Breckenridge Hills, is awaiting trial on similar charges.

Mathews forced the women into sex in the St. Louis area from 2010 through October 2012. Authorities say the mentally disabled woman was forced to sleep and use the bathroom in a closet, and was supplied with little food. The woman was also beaten and set on fire.
Saturday, 16 March 2013 11:03
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A Missouri couple accused of keeping their severely autistic, 6-year-old son in a makeshift cage soiled with urine and feces was charged Friday with endangering the welfare of a child.

The charges come more than two years after an anonymous call to a state hotline sent authorities to the O'Fallon home of Victoria and Terry Smith. Their son and his siblings were removed from their parents care, but later returned, according to court documents.

St. Charles County prosecutor Tim Lohmar did not immediately respond to a message asking for information about the delay in filing charges and why the children were later returned to the home.

The Smiths, who have since moved to Elsberry, do not have a listed phone number or an attorney on record. Arrest warrants have been issued, and Lohmar said both are expected to turn themselves in.

Lohmar said authorities received the tip in December 2010, when the boy was 6. When police, paramedics and a case worker went to the home, the child's grandmother showed them to the basement, where the child was in a 3-foot-tall, 3-foot-wide and 6-foot-long crib covered with a plywood top and held together with bungee cords, tension straps and zip ties, he said.

The boy's parents were shopping at the time, and his grandmother was watching him and his five siblings, ages 11 months to 8 years.

The child was naked, sitting in urine and feces, Lohmar said. According to court documents, the siblings told police their brother was often kept in the cage and they fed him hot dogs and chicken nuggets through the bars.

"We certainly understand that any parent is going to have stressful times, especially parents with severely developmentally disabled children," Lohmar said. "But our view is that this was a completely inappropriate way to handle this particular situation."

When the Smiths came home, they told investigators that they fashioned the cage for the boy's protection - it was the only way to keep him from hurting himself when left alone, Lohmar said. They said they did their best to keep the cage clean and kept him naked so that he wouldn't accidentally hang himself with clothing.
Saturday, 16 March 2013 11:00
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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A body found in the Little River in eastern Tennessee has been identified as a Missouri man last heard from in February.

Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said Friday that the cause of death for 29-year-old Lance Michael Larson O'Fallon, Mo., remains under investigation.

Berrong said investigators are searching for O'Fallon's tan 2003 Kia Spectra, 4-door, with a Missouri registration CF1S9R.

Larson traveled to Lynchburg, Va., in February from his home in O'Fallon, Mo. Berrong said his last known contact with family was around Feb. 20, when he told his parents he was headed back to Missouri. It is not known why Larson was in the Rockford area.

Larson's body was found in the Little River Thursday downstream from the Roddy Branch boat access area in Rockford.
Saturday, 16 March 2013 10:58
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Patriot Coal Corp. has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to modify collective bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers of America, allowing the coal company to cut health care coverage for retired miners.

St. Louis-based Patriot said in the filing on Thursday that the action is necessary to save more than 4,000 jobs. Patriot also seeks to change wages, benefits and work rules for existing workers in an effort to make the company more competitive.

Union leaders have been anticipating the move for some time, holding protests in St. Louis last month that drew more than 1,000 people. UMWA President Cecil Roberts says the loss of benefits would cause financial ruin and threaten the health for thousands of retirees.

Patriot filed for bankruptcy in July.
Friday, 15 March 2013 15:57
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