State briefs 12/17/04

Friday, December 17, 2004

State rejects sponsorship of charter school

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The state Board of Education rejected a request Thursday to sponsor the Westport Charter School, which had lost its sponsorship from the Kansas City School District earlier this year. In mid-September, the Kansas City Board of Education and charter school backers reached an agreement to return control of the school to the district, and classes have continued there under the district's supervision.

Auditor: Dog breeders still lax in health, safety

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Inspectors in one of the nation's top dog-breeding states are doing a poor job of citing breeders for health and safety violations, leaving dogs at risk of death and illness, according to a state audit released Thursday. State Auditor Claire McCaskill said while state inspections of Missouri's commercial dog breeding industry have improved, "there remains some serious problems" since her initial audit nearly four years ago.

Wellston site gets clean bill from DNR

ST. LOUIS -- A seven-year, $7 million project to clean up the site of an old St. Louis-area electrical manufacturing plant contaminated with PCBs and other pollutants is now complete, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources said Thursday. From 1906 until the early 1980s, Wagner Electric manufactured transformers and other equipment in Wellston. The property was donated to St. Louis County in 1983 when Wagner ceased operation.

DNA database links prisoner to 1989 murder

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Prosecutors have charged a man convicted of a kidnapping and rape in 1991 with the death of a teenage girl two years before. Court records indicate DNA evidence matched him to the crime. Mack A. Calhoun, 34, currently in a Missouri prison, was charged this week with first-degree murder in the death of Renee Weathersby, 17, in March 1989. DNA samples from semen found on Weathersby were added to a national database last year by the Kansas City crime lab, and the samples were found to match Calhoun's DNA, according to court records.

St. Louis Zoo 'takin' with latest birth

ST. LOUIS --The St. Louis Zoo has got a new baby on board. A baby takin, weighing in at 25 pounds, was born at the zoo Dec. 3. The takin, a little known relative of the musk ox, is both rare in zoos and threatened in the wild. It's a mountain dweller, native to the dense bamboo forests of northern Asia and shares its remote habitat with the giant panda. The female was named Ting Ting, which means "slim and graceful," in Chinese. She is the third calf for mother Tsow May Dee and father Kiko. The baby is living with her parents and sister, Li, born in 2003, in the zoo's Red Rocks area.

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