US EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Holds Media Availability


Lenexa, KS (STL.News) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler will participate in a media availability after ceremonies celebrating the completion of the cleanup of the Carter Carburetor Superfund Site located next to the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club, 2901 N. Grand Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110.  EPA Regional Administrator Jim Gulliford will also participate in the press event.

WHO: EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler And EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford

WHAT: Press Availability (following ceremony)

WHEN: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club, 2901 N. Grand Ave., St. Louis

Credential media must RSVP to [email protected] to attend. This event will not be livestreamed.



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Kansas City, MO: Two KC Men Charged With Robbing Family at Gunpoint


Cameron E. Scott and Chase M. Murphy charged in a five-count criminal complaint

KANSAS CITY, MO (STL.News) Two Kansas City, Missouri, men have been charged in federal court with robbing a family in their home at gunpoint.

Cameron E. Scott, 19, and Chase M. Murphy, 19, were charged in a five-count criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., on Monday, Sept. 14.  Murphy was recently charged in a separate complaint involving business robberies.

The federal criminal complaint charges Scott and Murphy together with one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, one count of armed robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, one count of stealing a firearm, and one count of possessing a stolen firearm.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, Scott and Murphy (along with an unidentified third man) robbed a group of three juveniles and four adults at gunpoint on March 22, 2020.  The affidavit says the three men forced their way into a residence in the 8100 block of Wayne Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., and pointed firearms at multiple victims (mostly members of the same family).  They held one of the victims at gunpoint while demanding money and marijuana.

The three men stole $450, a rifle, and a Taurus 9mm semi-automatic pistol then left the residence.  Officers saw a car matching the description a witness gave of the robbers’ vehicle.  Three men got out of the vehicle and ran into a residence in the 9200 block of Indiana Avenue in Kansas City, Mo.  Soon afterward, the driver of the vehicle returned to the car and left.  Officers attempted to follow the vehicle but lost sight of it.  Scott and Murphy were seen leaving from the back of the residence.  When officers announced themselves, they fled into a wooded area.  A short time later, Scott and Murphy were seen walking in the tree line near 93rd Street and Grandview Road.  Officers tried to approach them, but they fled on foot again.  Officers gave chase and ultimately found Scott and Murphy hiding in a creek bed.

Officers searched the residence on Indiana Avenue.  In the attic, they found a black suitcase with a Taurus 9mm semi-automatic pistol (which matched the description of the firearm taken during the robbery) and a Smith and Wesson .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

The charges contained in this complaint are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt.  Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashleigh A. Ragner.  It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the FBI.

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Enjoy date night for nature lovers at a pair of MDC in-person programs in September


St. LOUIS, MO (STL.News) Have COVID-19 restrictions put taken the fun out of your dating life? With nightclubs, sporting events, and movie theaters out of the picture, where can you go? It turns out nature has the answer.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is holding a pair of special outdoor date night events for couples in September that offer safe and socially-distanced fun.  It’s even better that they’re free.

MDC will host Couples Night Hike: Turkey Ridge Trail Saturday, Sept. 19 from 5- 7 p.m. at Forest 44 Conservation Area in High Ridge.  Couples can enjoy a trip on Turkey Ridge trail together or bring a friend or family member.  This brisk two-mile hike highlights interesting glades, bird habitat, and challenging uphill climbs.  You might find it’s even better exercise than dancing. Participants should register each hiker planning on coming, wear sturdy shoes, and bring a flashlight and bug spray for each person.  Open for ages 16 and up.

MDC also invites couples to Way Out Weekend: A Socially Distanced Date Night Saturday, Sept. 26 from 6-8 p.m. at Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood.  Experience a fall evening at this popular conservation area with someone special.  Activities will include a privately set candle lit picnic table, music, crafts, and games.  At 7 p.m. there’ll be a s’mores campfire and storytelling.  Participants should bring their own picnic dinners, blankets, and coolers, but please refrain from alcohol.  A flashlight and bug spray are strongly encouraged.  S’mores kits will be provided.  MDC requests participants sign up all individuals in their party so that effective social distancing can be practiced.  Open for ages 18 and up.

Advanced online registration is required for each event at the following links:

For the safety of participants and our staff, MDC asks all guests to observe social distancing guidelines and maintain at least 6 feet from others.  Bringing and wearing face coverings is encouraged when indoors, or any time visitors are unable to maintain at least six feet from others.  Local ordinances requiring face masks will be observed where applicable.

MDC offers many free educational programs in the St. Louis region to help people discover nature, fishing, hunting, and the outdoors. Stay informed by going to the MDC St. Louis reginal events page at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZP6.



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Ashcroft Secures 25,000 Face Masks for November Election


Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) Making good on his promises, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has secured 25,000 face masks to be delivered to local election authorities for the November 3 General Election.  In a joint release, Ashcroft announced that Patriot Medical Devices, located in Cape Girardeau, is supplying the 3-ply, disposable face masks, manufactured in Missouri with American-made materials.

“Voting in person will be safe in November,” Ashcroft said.  “Using creativity and the buying power of state government, my office is continuing to deliver on our promise to provide protective equipment for polling places in November.  Missouri has already held three elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, and our local election authorities know what works to keep polling places safe.”

“We are proud to provide our masks to our home state and to be a part of ensuring safe elections here in Missouri,” said Tyler Needham, Patriot’s president.

In May, Ashcroft’s office distributed $4.5 million in federal CARES funding and a required state match to local election authorities to prepare for the 2020 elections.  Later that month, Ashcroft personally visited each one of Missouri’s 116 election jurisdictions, delivering 17,000 face masks, 17,000 face shields, 40,000 yellow floor distancing strips, 16,000 posters encouraging physical distancing and 500 gallons of hand sanitizer.



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Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services issues correction of COVID-19 positivity rate


COLUMBIA, MO (STL.News) Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) has corrected and updated the COVID-19 positivity rate for Boone County residents on the COVID-19 Information Hub.  This information was updated after PHHS was notified of a reporting error from Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).

On Sept. 3, PHHS was notified by DHSS that a lab in Boone County was unable to transmit all negative results electronically to DHSS since May 1.  Issues with the data transmission appear to have been caused by a complex data extraction issue between MU Health Care’s electronic medical record contractor and DHSS.  There was no delay in positive results, as those are also reported directly from the lab to PHHS.  All patients were notified of test results in a timely manner and the only reporting error was to DHSS.  Upon being notified of this data issue, PHHS halted publishing a positivity rate, as the number of results received on each day contributes to the denominator for the positivity rate calculation.

Attached to this release is the revised positivity rates for all weeks between May 1 and Sept. 4.  This graph, and corrected positivity rates, will be updated on the Information Hub with the end of day update at 4 p.m. on Sept. 15.  The additional negative test result data has resulted in a lower positivity rate than previously recorded.  However, the positivity rate has still increased over time.

“The updated positivity rate still indicates an increase in the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and that there should be an increased focus on testing availability within Boone County,” said Director of PHHS Stephanie Browning.

The positivity rate is used to help assess how the pandemic is changing in the county and whether the spread of the virus is improving or not.  A physician’s order continues to be required for COVID-19 testing, with the exception of a few community-based testing events.  Under the current testing criteria in Boone County, a rising positivity rate indicates that more people with symptoms of the virus or those who have been exposed through close contact are becoming infected with the virus.

Policy decisions are not made solely based on the positivity rate in Boone County.  The Public Health Order announced on Aug. 28 was determined by an increased number of positive cases, specifically in young adults between the ages of 18-24, as well as trends showing increased transmission among other age groups.  These infections are happening in situations in which people are gathering together and ignoring social distancing and mask requirements.  PHHS analyzes all data in order to determine policy decisions, rather than focusing on one metric.

“The positivity rate provides insight into how the COVID-19 virus has spread within our county over time, but it is not the sole tool when making decisions,” said Browning.  “Our PHHS team continues to look at all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it may affect the health and safety of all those who live in Boone County.”

In addition to the positivity rate, PHHS also monitors other metrics including the number of hospitalizations and deaths, the mode of transmission, and the age breakdown of all cases.  Notably, one of the most important metrics is the 14-day case rate, which shows how the number of new cases has grown over a two-week period.  Increased cases contribute to the overall capacity of case investigation and contact tracing efforts.

Due to obtaining the backlog of negative test results, PHHS will change the way in which test results are recorded.  As of Sept. 15, PHHS will record COVID-19 results on the day the specimen was collected instead of the day the results were received.  Please note that this may mean that the number of tests and positivity rate may change after publication if more test results are received.

All updates on the number of COVID-19 test results received and the positivity rate can be found on the Sept. 15, 2020 update of the Information Hub at como.gov/coronavirus.



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Kansas City, Mo; Antonio Johnson Charged with Drug Trafficking, Illegal Firearms


Kansas City, Mo; Antonio Johnson Charged with Drug Trafficking, Illegal Firearms | USAO-WDMO

(STL.News) – A Raytown, Missouri, man has been charged in federal court with drug trafficking and illegally possessing a firearm after selling a stolen handgun to an undercover federal agent.

Antonio Johnson, 18, was charged in a two-count complaint filed under seal in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., on Sept. 3, 2020.  The complaint was unsealed and made public following Johnson’s arrest and initial court appearance on Friday, Sept. 11.

The federal criminal complaint charges Johnson with one count of distributing marijuana and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, an undercover federal agent arranged four controlled purchases of marijuana from Johnson in July and August 2020.  When Johnson met the undercover agent for the first transaction, he was armed with a pistol placed between the driver’s seat and center console of the vehicle he was driving, and a black rifle sitting on the lap of a passenger in the vehicle.

On Aug. 31, 2020, the undercover federal agent contacted Johnson and told him she wanted to purchase a pistol from him, and they agreed on a price of $450. On Sept. 1, 2020, Johnson allegedly met the undercover agent at his apartment and handed her a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun and a baggie that contained 29 grams of marijuana for which she paid a total of $680.  Johnson allegedly agreed to get her more firearms.  The pistol had been stolen from the personal vehicle of a Grain Valley, Missouri, police officer in August 2020.

The charges contained in this complaint are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt.  Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford.  It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Operation LeGend
Operation LeGend is a federal partnership with local law enforcement to address the increase in homicides and violent crime in Kansas City, Mo., in 2020.  The operation honors the memory of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, one of the youngest fatalities during a record-breaking year of homicides and shootings.  Additional federal agents were assigned to the operation from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

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Missouri Issues Over $230 Million in Lost Wages Assistance to Unemployed Workers; Funding for Federal Program Ends


The LWA provides a $300 weekly federal supplement for eligible unemployed Missourians for a total of 6 weeks

Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR) reports that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has notified the state that the federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program for unemployed workers which began on the week ending August 1, 2020 will be paid through the week ending on September 5, 2020, for a total of six weeks.  The LWA provides a $300 weekly federal supplement for eligible unemployed Missourians. DOLIR reports that payments to eligible individuals for the week ending September 5 should be received by the end of next week, and any pending payments to eligible recipients will be paid retroactively as allowed by federal guidelines.

To date, Missouri has distributed more than $230 million in LWA funding to Missouri’s unemployed.  Missouri was among the first five states to be approved for LWA funding and was the third state to begin paying the LWA supplement to unemployed workers.  These payments began the week of August 23, 2020.

The LWA is funded through a grant from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund.  The President issued an Executive Order on August 8, 2020, directing FEMA, with guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, to administer the LWA program.

To receive LWA benefit payments, an unemployed individual must be eligible to receive at least $100 in unemployment benefits per week, and the individual must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the implementation of the LWA, Missouri continues to be a national leader in meeting the needs of the unemployed.  In April, Missouri launched the third federal program under the CARES Act in just under a month of having received its first guidance from the federal government.  Additionally, in April, Missouri became one of the first ten states to start processing payments for the self-employed and others through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

For those struggling during this time, the Missouri Service Navigator can help connect individuals and families with vital local services.  For more assistance resources and information, visit labor.mo.gov/DES/Claims/public_programs .



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Chicago; William Townsend Arrested on Federal Drug Charge for Allegedly Dealing Heroin


Chicago; William Townsend Arrested on Federal Drug Charge for Allegedly Dealing Heroin and Fentanyl | USAO-NDIL

(STL.News) – A Chicago man has been arrested on a federal drug charge for allegedly selling wholesale quantities of heroin and fentanyl in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago.

William Townsend, 40, of Chicago, is charged with distribution of a controlled substance.  A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago accuses Townsend of distributing the heroin and fentanyl to two suspected drug traffickers.  The sales occurred in a residential building in the 700 block of West Couch Place in Chicago, the complaint states.

During the investigation, law enforcement seized approximately $469,000 in cash and approximately a kilogram of suspected heroin.

Townsend was arrested on Sept. 10, 2020.  He appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey I.  Cummings in Chicago and was ordered to remain detained in federal custody.

The complaint and arrest were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristen Totten, Matthew Kutcher, and Edward A. Liva, Jr., represent the government.

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

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South Dakota; Carl Francis Martin Charged with Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Minor


(STL.News) – United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Pine Ridge, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Aggravated Sexual Abuse, Sexual Abuse, and Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

Carl Francis Martin, a/k/a Roy Martin, age 20, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann and pleaded not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is any term of imprisonment up to life in a federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, up to life of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The charges relate to Martin sexually abusing a female by force and at a time when she was incapable of declining participation in a sexual act, in January 2020 near Pine Ridge.  Martin also sexually abused a minor, who was between the ages of 12 and 16, in September 2019 near Pine Ridge.

The charges are merely accusations and Martin is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Sazama is prosecuting the case.

Martin was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial. A trial date has been set for November 10, 2020.

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Beaumont, Texas; ake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals Enjoined From Resuming Business Operations


Beaumont, Texas; ake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals Enjoined From Resuming Business Operations | USAO-EDTX

(STL.News) – U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox announced today that a federal judge has entered a preliminary injunction barring Jake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals from resuming business operations out of their Twin City Highway location in Nederland.

“If businesses are used as a front for drug trafficking, they can pose a serious threat to the community,” explained U.S. Attorney Stephen Cox.  “The Eastern District of Texas is committed to using all available criminal and civil law enforcement tools to combat such threats.  Here, a civil injunction was particularly critical to stopping the defendants from continuing to engage in their alleged misconduct and presenting a risk of harm.”

The Eastern District sought and obtained a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) under the Controlled Substances Act on July 13, 2020, on the grounds that Jake’s Fireworks was a drug-involved premises.  The government alleged that Jake’s Fireworks was a front for Right Price Chemicals, a company alleged to have distributed 1,4 butanediol, commonly referred to as “BDO” across the country in violation of federal law.  BDO is a chemical manufactured only for industrial or laboratory use as a floor stripper or vehicle wheel cleaner and is not intended for human consumption.  Congress has identified BDO as a “date rape drug” and has criminalized illegal internet sale of BDO to unauthorized purchasers.

The July 13th TRO immediately shut down operations of the business and any further distribution of BDO and other chemicals by Jake Daughtry, Joe Daughtry, Sandra Daughtry, and Kip Daughtry.  Based on evidence compiled through its investigation, the government moved to convert the TRO into a preliminary injunction to prevent Jake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals from reopening altogether.

Following an evidentiary hearing on September 2, 2020, Judge Michael Truncale granted the government’s request and enjoined Jake’s Fireworks and Right Price Chemicals from resuming business operations.  After hearing testimony from an agent with the DEA’s West Palm Beach Task Force and a contract chemist employee of Right Price Chemicals, Judge Truncale found the government proved a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of its civil injunction suit.  In his order granting the preliminary injunction, Judge Truncale explained the evidence showed:

  • Right Price Chemicals ordered and shipped BDO out of the Jake’s Fireworks premises;
  • BDO was stored in and around the Jake’s Fireworks premises;
  • Right Price Chemicals’ business offices and operations were situated within the Jake’s Fireworks building;
  • Employees of Right Price Chemicals, including Jake Daughtry, knew that BDO was a “controlled substance analogue” and that customers were using BDO for human consumption; and
  • Right Price Chemicals continued to sell BDO for human consumption despite knowing it was being used illegally.

The preliminary injunction continues to prevent Jake’s Fireworks or Right Price Chemicals from reopening and resuming shipping BDO across the country in violation of federal law.  The injunction also prohibits Jake’s Fireworks from reopening for seasonal fireworks sales.

This is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case and is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration West Palm Beach, Florida, and Beaumont; United States Postal Service; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.  Essential support and coordination was provided by numerous components of DEA headquarters and the Department of Justice’s multi-agency Special Operations Division (SOD), including assigned attorneys from the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS).  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Wells and Michelle Englade.

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