Region briefs 12/06/02

Friday, December 6, 2002

Lambert Airport changes security procedures

ST. LOUIS -- Starting today, passengers flying out of the main terminal at St. Louis' Lambert Airport must present a boarding pass before entering the concourses through security checkpoints, Lambert and the federal government said Thursday.

Passengers have been able to get boarding passes at their assigned gates. But under the changes effective at 4 a.m. today, no one will be allowed beyond the main terminal's checkpoints without a boarding pass and photo I.D, Lambert and the Transportation Security Administration said.

The change will eliminate the need for random searches of passengers at their assigned gates, said Bill Switzer, the federal security director at Lambert. Random passenger searches will continue at the checkpoints, Switzer said.

Passes are available at curbside check-in, self-service ticket kiosks and at ticket counters.

The new screening procedure will be phased in later at the airport's east terminal, officials said.

Teacher seeks hearing on misconduct allegations

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A high school teacher facing possible termination has requested a formal hearing before the Poplar Bluff School Board after he was accused of misconduct involving a student.

Superintendent Randy Winston said Tim Slayton, a social studies teacher at Poplar Bluff High School, was placed on administrative leave Nov. 18 pending investigation of an allegation of misconduct involving a student.

Winston said the action was taken because the school district wanted to "take every precaution" to make sure students were safe.

This is Slayton's 10th year with the school district.

Winston said Slayton's attorney, Danny Moore, requested a hearing involving the charges before the board of education to determine Slayton's employment with the district.

An open hearing will be scheduled for the first week in January, Winston said.

Slayton directed all comments to his attorney. Moore said the district sent Slayton a letter saying they were going to move to terminate his contract and he had 10 days to request a hearing.

Slayton, who is also on the Doniphan Board of Education, was defeated in the August Republican primary in his bid for the state representative seat for the 153rd district.

Nixon seeks to dissolve Health Midwest board

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Attorney General Jay Nixon on Thursday moved to dissolve Health Midwest, the not-for-profit corporation that operates 14 hospitals in the Kansas City area, and oust the company's board of directors.

Nixon's request was contained in a response to a lawsuit filed by Health Midwest last week in Cole County Circuit Court. That suit asks the court to clarify laws governing the proposed $1.3 billion sale of Health Midwest's hospitals to HCA Inc., a for-profit health-care company.

"Health Midwest existed for the purpose of running hospitals in the Kansas City area," Nixon said in a statement. "The board of directors has made a decision to abandon the very thing for which the corporation exists, so Health Midwest must be dissolved and its directors replaced."

If the sale is completed, $800 million in proceeds would be used to create a charitable foundation.

UMSLprofessor: Missouri needs new voting method

ST. LOUIS -- Voting by punch card is the most problematic election technology used today, and it's the most common method in Missouri, an elections researcher said Thursday.

But Missouri also permits straight-party ballot punching, a method that reduces the number of votes that can't be recorded, according to David Kimball, assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Kimball spoke Thursday about election problems, including those that riveted the nation's attention and cast doubt on the outcome of the 2000 presidential race.

Kimball, who has done extensive research on elections and political behavior, recommends replacing punch-card ballots with optically scanned ballots, or voting by touch-screen machines.

--From wire reports

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