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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Not so long ago, leaving college dorm life for an off-campus apartment in Columbia meant a slight upgrade in niceties — with the bigger prize of greater independence and more freedom from prying parents.

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Now, students at the University of Missouri are flocking to high-end downtown apartment complexes that boast granite countertops, enormous flat-screen TVs and an ample taste of the good life with such amenities as rooftop swimming pools and on-site tanning salons.

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The desirous downtown destinations are forcing city leaders to confront thornier questions about parking, noise and historical preservation. Downtown development is a prominent issue in the city's mayoral race. It comes soon after a St. Louis developer backed away from plans to tear down the historic Niedermeyer building and replace it with more student high-rises.

Sunday, 31 March 2013 08:24
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has suspended a St. Louis judge who let a clerk handle hundreds of cases while she was on vacation.

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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the unpaid six-month suspension of Associate Circuit Judge Barbara Peebles was ordered Friday. A one-page order says the court found Peebles "engaged in misconduct" but doesn't go into specifics.

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Peebles has been suspended with pay since August, when a judicial disciplinary commission voted to recommend her removal. A report by the Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline found Pebbles abdicated her duties to clerks, showed up late to work and tried to cover up the destruction or removal of a document.

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Peebles had been fighting the dismissal recommendation. It's been 20 years since a Missouri judge was removed from office.

 

 

Sunday, 31 March 2013 08:23
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Schnucks grocery store chain says it's found the source of a credit card fraud problem that has victimized dozens of people.

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In a news release Saturday, Schnucks Markets Inc. announced that the computer forensic firm it hired discovered that a computer code was recording customers' credit and debit card numbers. The suburban St. Louis-based grocery says it's taken "comprehensive measures" designed to block further access.

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CEO Scott Schnuck described what happened as a "cyberattack" and says the company is cooperating with authorities.

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The chain learned March 15th that some customers had noticed unauthorized charges for credit cards they used at Schnucks. Shoppers were encouraged to pay with cash or checks until the fraud problem was resolved.

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Authorities said many of the unauthorized charges were at out-of-state big box stores.

 

Sunday, 31 March 2013 08:19
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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Prosecutors say they'll recommend a 10-month prison sentence for a Maine Zumba teacher who used her fitness studio as a front for a prostitution operation.

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Alexis Wright pleaded guilty Friday to 20 counts including engaging in prostitution, promotion of prostitution and conspiracy.

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Wright's plea agreement spares her the prospect of a high-profile trial featuring sex videos, exhibitionism and pornography, and more than a thousand texts and emails detailing the operation.

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The 30-year-old Wright was accused of conspiring with insurance agent Mark Strong Sr. to run a prostitution business out of her studio in the quiet seaside town of Kennebunk. She was also accused of using a hidden camera to record sex acts without her clients' knowledge.

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Strong was convicted of 13 counts and sentenced to 20 days in jail.

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