Region/state digest 01/11/06

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Interior Department to close map agency in Rolla

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Interior Department said Tuesday it is going ahead with plans to move its federal mapping agency office out of Rolla, Mo., after an internal review found the decision-making process was fair. The U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Va., plans to consolidate operations from Rolla and two other cities into the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center in Denver. Missouri lawmakers in Congress had complained the plan -- first announced in September -- was not justified because it ignored internal data showing that Rolla had cheaper wages and operating costs. Republican Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson called the latest decision "nothing less than incompetence." The move would force nearly 200 Rolla employees out of their jobs within a year. The office is one of the city's largest employers.

Charge reduced for girl accused in burger killing

ST. LOUIS -- A 13-year-old girl accused of killing her 9-year-old sister during a dispute over a hamburger now faces a reduced charge of second-degree murder under the juvenile code. Circuit Judge Jack Garvey agreed to drop a first-degree murder charge at the request of court staff attorney Laura Harrold. The teenager was 12 when her sister died in December 2004. Though the younger sibling had minor injuries to her neck, the autopsy did not initially determine a cause of death. But in February, police received a phone call from a social worker. The 12-year-old was in a hospital psychiatric unit, suffering visions and nightmares. Police said the girl told staff there she strangled her sister during a quarrel over a hamburger. A lawyer representing the family, Gaylard Williams, said after Monday's hearing that the charges were reduced because the teenager suffers from a mental illness.

Prison official improving after Monday stabbing

ST. LOUIS -- A 19-year Missouri Department of Corrections veteran was in fair condition Tuesday after being stabbed by an inmate. Don Nixon, 58, was recovering at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis County after being stabbed Monday at the Potosi Correctional Center. Two other workers who came to Nixon's aid were treated for scrapes and cuts at a hospital in Potosi. The man accused in the attack, death row inmate Roderick Nunley, 40, was being held in a confinement area away from other prisoners. It wasn't clear if charges had been filed.

Nominees for Carnahan service award needed

A statewide commission is looking for nominees for the Carnahan Service and Volunteer Award, which is given to an individual who exemplifies long-term commitment to volunteerism and community service. The annual award will be presented April 19 at the Missouri Community Service Commission's dinner. The award is named for the late governor Mel Carnahan. Anyone seeking to nominate someone for this award may download the form at Forms must be received by Jan. 31.

-- From staff, wire reports

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