FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Thousands of St. Louis area residents hoping to avoid extended legal entanglements are flocking to events this week that give low-level offenders a second chance to resolve outstanding warrants and avoid arrest.
Hundreds came to St. Louis Community College's Florissant Valley campus Wednesday morning to receive vouchers they can use at participating courts. The vouchers and a nominal payment allow participants to schedule future court dates on their own rather than going to jail if stopped for an unrelated traffic violation.
Event organizer James Clark of the Better Family Life community group emphasizes that the program is not a "get out of jail free card." He says it helps keeps otherwise law-abiding citizens out of the penal system while also generating needed revenue for the 43 participating municipalities.
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A Florida prison inmate says he knows what happened to a St. Louis-area boy who disappeared 25 years ago, and authorities in Missouri are trying to determine if his story is legitimate.
Scott Kleeschulte of St. Charles was 9 when he disappeared on June 8, 1988, while walking near a wooded area not far from his home.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 47-year-old Chuck Miceli is a former police officer from the Chicago area who has turned informant on several cases. Miceli was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2010 on a federal fraud charge.
He has claimed a former cellmate abducted Scott. St. Charles authorities have spent the past seven weeks checking his story.
The Kleeschulte family declined comment.
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon today ordered the deployment of 50 military policemen of the Missouri National Guard to assist local civil authorities in protecting lives and property threatened by flash floods in areas of southern Missouri impacted by flooding from recent heavy rain.
“The Citizen-Soldiers of the Missouri National Guard are one of our most valuable assets in helping Missourians during and after natural disasters, and their skill and training will greatly assist state and local emergency responders in taking necessary action to save lives,” Gov. Nixon said.
This morning, Gov. Nixon spoke to elected officials in Laclede, Miller, Phelps and Pulaski counties about the situation in each of those counties, and about the ongoing assistance from the state.
Yesterday, the Governor declared a state of emergency after heavy rains caused flash flooding and at least one confirmed death in the Waynesville area. That executive order activated the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, which allows state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.
In addition to the deployment of the Missouri National Guard, the Missouri State Highway Patrol has deployed additional marine operations troopers, a rescue helicopter and associated assets to the region to assist local emergency responders. At the Governor’s direction, those resources will remain in place until the threat has passed. The State Emergency Management Agency is actively monitoring conditions and will continue to work with local response agencies to provide additional support as needed.
The Governor urged residents of flood-affected areas of southern Missouri to pay close attention to weather warnings and follow the safety instructions of local officials as the potential for additional dangerous flooding continues. Missourians, especially motorists, are encouraged to remember these important safety tips on flooding and high water:
Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups. Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don’t try it. Water hides dips in the road. Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.
An update is expected today on the Rockwood School District audit. State Auditor Tom Schweich will present his follow-up report around 2:00pm. Rockwood was first audited in February and received a "fair" rating on the auditor's scale because of so-called "serious issues" in the budget. The most serious being that Rockwood overpaid a construction firm by $1.2 million for renovation projects. But Schweich's office said that none of the issues would rise to the level of a serious legal infraction.