Residents in Missouri and Arkansas are grappling with the aftermath of a series of storms that spawned at least two tornadoes.
At least 24 homes in Hazelwood, Missouri, sustained severe damage from Wednesday night's storms, the St. Louis County Office of Emergency Management said.
One tornado touched down in the St. Louis suburb, ripping the roofs off of several homes, Hazelwood communications manager Tim Davidson said. No serious injuries were immediately reported.
Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri after a series of storms pummeled the St. Louis area and elsewhere across the state. Nixon will tour damaged areas Thursday, his website said.
Six employees of JJ's restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, have filed a lawsuit against five companies and one person in connection with the February 19 natural gas explosion that killed one woman.
The workers filed suit Monday in circuit court in Jackson County, naming Missouri Gas Energy, excavating contractor Heartland Midwest, Time Warner Cable (an independent company no longer owned by CNN parent Time Warner), two other businesses and one individual as defendants.FULL STORY
A fatal explosion last month in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, was caused by the accidental ignition of natural gas vapors that had accumulated inside a popular restaurant, according to a report from a joint city-federal task force.
After a gas line nearby was ruptured, firefighters asked employees at JJ's restaurant "to put the flames out on the candles, stove and hot water heater" inside, said the report.
When queried after the blast by investigators, the restaurant's manager acknowledged the initial request and said workers "only put the candles out and turned the stove off, but did not turn out the pilot lights for the stove or hot water heater," according to the report issued Wednesday.FULL STORY
Six inches of snow in Chicago. A foot or so plastering the Upper Midwest. And up 20 inches expected just west of Washington D.C.
Surely, there's a silver lining to these snow clouds though, right? Don't they bring much-neeed moisture to parched states?
Snow is very fluffy, and it takes up to a foot of it to squeeze out an inch of rain, meteorologists say.FULL STORY
[Update 2:48 p.m. ET] A light aircraft with landing gear problems landed intact Monday afternoon at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport.
CNN affiliate KTVI said eight people were aboard the Learjet.
Officials earlier said that they expected the plane to touch down at St. Louis Downtown Airport, which is across the Mississippi River from St. Louis in Cahokia, Illinois.
The plane landed "without incident" at 1:32 p.m. CT (2:32 p.m. ET), the Federal Aviation Administration said. It had departed Wooster, Ohio, en route to St. Louis Downtown Airport earlier in the day.
[First report 1:53 p.m. ET] A light aircraft reporting landing gear problems is preparing to make an emergency landing at St. Louis Downtown Airport - also known as Parks Airport - in Cahokia, Illinois, according to CNN affiliate KTVI.
Just before noon, the plane reported a problem with its landing gear, KTVI reported.
This is a developing story. We'll bring you more details as we get them.
One body was pulled from the debris today at the site of yesterday's explosion at a Kansas City, Missouri, restaurant.
Officials say they cannot be certain that there are no other victims of the JJ's restaurant explosion, which happened Tuesday evening after a strong odor of gas was reported in the area.
One female employee was reported missing after the blast, but Fire Chief Paul Berardi said it was too early to confirm the identity of the victim, whose body was found near the restaurant's bar area. At least 15 people were injured in the blast.
It was happy hour at JJ's when the roof blew off the popular Kansas City, Missouri, restaurant.
"When we got to the scene, we had a fully involved restaurant that had patrons, probably several patrons, inside at the time of the incident," said Fire Chief Paul Berardi.
A natural gas explosion leveled the eatery about 6 p.m. CT Tuesday. Two people were missing and 14 were injured.
[Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET] A part-time student at a business and arts college in St. Louis shot and wounded a school employee Tuesday before wounding himself at the institute, St. Louis police said.
The suspect, who apparently shot himself, and the Stevens Institute of Business and Arts employee were taken to a hospital, where they were in surgery Tuesday afternoon, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson said.
Police officers responding to a 911 call found the employee, identified only as a man in his late 40s, wounded in the school in downtown St. Louis. Officers then found the wounded suspect in a stairwell, as well as a handgun that investigators believe was used in the shooting, Dotson said.
Other students, faculty and staff members "headed for the doors" after the shooting and were taken to "an offsite location" to be interviewed by investigators, Dotson said.
[Initial post, 3:59 p.m. ET] Two men have been taken to a hospital in critical condition after a shooting at a St. Louis business college Tuesday, St. Louis fire Capt. Dan Sutter said.
A suspect was in custody after the shooting at Stevens Institute of Business and Arts, according to a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer.
No names or details about the injuries were immediately released. Check this page for updates.
Inside the Kansas City home that Jovan Belcher fled, his baby daughter wailed, his mother was in hysterics and his girlfriend was quiet. Barely breathing.
This is what the NFL linebacker left behind on Saturday in a rush of violence that left many wondering why.
Few answers came from 911 tapes released this week by police. But the tapes provide a heartbreaking soundtrack of the fleeting moments the morning that police say Belcher killed his girlfriend Kassandra Perkins and then later turned the gun on himself just outside the front door of the Chiefs' practice facility.
"Oh my God. Oh my God. Kasi," Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd, bawled. "The baby is crying ... Please get the ambulance here!"FULL STORY
In an apparent murder-suicide, a Kansas City Chiefs player shot himself in the head in front of his coaches at a team training facility after earlier shooting to death his girlfriend at her residence, police said.
Kansas City, Missouri, police spokesman Darin Snapp identified the player as linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, according to NFL.com.FULL STORY
"I think we're going to have a pretty good Christmas," Cindy Hill joked Friday, just minutes after a Missouri lottery official announced that Hill and her family had won half of the record $587.5 million Powerball jackpot.
"We're still stunned by what's happened. It's surreal," Hill said. "Every once in a while you look at each other and say, 'Did we really win that money?'" said the Dearborn, Missouri, resident.
Seated at a table at Dearborn's North Platte R-1 High School, Hill, her husband, Mark, their three grown sons, Jason, Cody and Jarod, and their adopted 6-year-old daughter, Jaiden, joyfully answered questions from the media.FULL STORY
Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.
Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican Senate candidate from Missouri, caused a firestorm of controversy because of his remarks about "legitimate rape" and opposing abortion in rape cases. Akin has since apologized, but readers of all political persuasions seemed mostly unified in opposition to Akin's remarks; they tended to differ much more when talking about what those words actually mean politically.
Mark Ivy, who describes himself as an independent who plans to vote for Mitt Romney, said he believes Akin should bow out of his senatorial race.
"We need people who can judge what is fact from fiction, no matter one's personal ideology," he said via e-mail. "We need people who can tell that if it is raining you take an umbrella when you go out."
His CNN iReport video commentary riffed off Missouri's oft-debated "Show Me State" nickname, which the Missouri Secretary of State website defines as the "stalwart, conservative, noncredulous character of Missourians." His strong stance attracted several commenters, including CKThompson, below.
k3vsdad: "While many are seeing this as a discussion on abortion, to me it is rather a question of judgment and common sense. The congressman, who is standing his ground and vowing to stay in the race, is to me a failure on two very important concerns that voters in the Show Me State should be focusing.
"Show me good judgment – Akin in his remarks fails on this.
"Show me common sense – Akin fails on this as well."
CKThompson: "There is no defending his statement in this case ... it was completely absurd. But to eliminate him as a viable candidate because of an absurd statement is, in itself, absurd. As I said on another iReport, if we eliminated every politician who said something stupid during a campaign, every capitol and statehouse would be empty."
But then we found Ivy becoming the commenter on another video commentary iReport from Egberto Willies of Kingwood, Texas. Willies said he believes many evangelicals are "comfortable with" Akin's views, and added that he also sees a "war against women" welling up in portions of the Republican Party.
"Akin's comments were backward, offensive, and showed a complete disregard for women," Willies said. That got a response from several commenters, including Ivy. FULL POST
Harry Stone was on one of his usual jogs in a Kansas City suburb shortly before 7:30 a.m. Sunday when an approaching car slowed down and a passenger shot him.
The vehicle kept going without stopping, and Stone, 60, later died at a hospital.
Nearly a week later, police in Raytown, Missouri, say they have no suspects, and no one has any idea why he was targeted.
He wasn’t robbed. He didn’t have any known enemies. And a gang-initiation hit appears implausible, Raytown police Capt. Ted Bowman said.
“Even grasping at straws and imagining motives, we have been able to find nothing in the man’s background or time or place or associations or his relationships or his history,” Bowman said Thursday.
Last night, a system of devastating storms swept through the Plains states, leaving trails of destruction in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas. Take a look at some storm-related video that's come in from the region, including one of a tornado touching down in one Kansas county.
Storm chasers capture footage of a tornado touching down in Reno County, Kansas. Watch the funnel cloud form and lightning flash in this nighttime video.
— The small town of Harveyville, Kansas, was especially hard hit. This video shows the devastating damage that the town faces the morning after a suspected tornado struck.
Residents of Edgar Springs, Missouri react to damage in their town. See a flattened burger shop and listen to one man describe what he did when he heard a tornado coming.
Residents across 13 states reported feeling a 4.0-magnitude earthquake that struck southeastern Missouri early Tuesday.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports the temblor struck at 3:58 a.m. Central time with an epicenter nine miles east-southeast of Sikeston, Missouri, and 16 miles southwest of Cairo, Illinois. The quake was at a depth of 3.1 miles.
It was felt in 13 states, with the furthest location from the epicenter being New Bern, North Carolina, more than 800 miles to the east, according to reports to the USGS. Besides Missouri, Illinois and North Carolina, residents in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma reported feeling the quake.
Lonnie Thurmond, city administrator in East Prairie, Missouri, about five miles from the epicenter of the quake, said he'd gotten reports of things falling from shelves and off walls when the quake hit, but no reports of major damage.
But he said he expected his community would be getting reports of underground service line breaks over the next few weeks as that is what usually happens when quakes hit the area, which sits near the New Madrid fault.
"Some water lines will be broken," Thurmond said. "It's just inevitable."
Thurmond said the quake jolted the entire community awake in the early morning darkness.
"It seems like there was not anyone it didn't wake up," he said, adding that his father, who lives near the epicenter, told him it sounded like a meteor had hit.
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Rick Santorum was thrice victorious in Tuesday's GOP contests, leading some to wonder if he's gaining momentum. Some, like opinion writer Timothy Stanley, are wondering what real impact he will have. Is Santorum the "coulda, shoulda, woulda" candidate, as Stanley asserts?
We heard from a few Santorum supporters, who said they believe the candidate could be a good option for Republicans.
AngelThree: "He is looking better each primary. He is a devoted family man who appears to have no skeletons in his closet. He is a devout Christian who puts family first. He is a moderate who is not aggressive militarily. He truly cares about our country. He also seems to have a bit of that Kennedy mystique about him that will attract the independent voters. He does not attack the other candidates. Like all humans, he will have faults, but they seem minimal as opposed to the other candidates or the incumbent. I believe he has a chance to serve."
This reader didn't think Santorum's success over Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich would carry over in other places.
Evilchicken: "Of course the surge isn't real. States like Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota do not reflect popular opinion anywhere outside of the Midwest. Romney will win ... sadly."
There were quite a few comments from those who are not fans of Santorum, as evidenced by this comment addressed to Stanley. It was the most-liked response.
angie412: "A professor at Oxford, huh? Do you study past speeches of candidates, sir? Mr. I-Want-to-Ban-All-Abortions and Amend-the-Constitution-to-Suit-My-Own-Personal-Religious-Beliefs is the most frightening candidate I've ever seen. I can't believe, given his terrible track record of crazy, that you'd even suggest he's an appropriate candidate in any party for the President of the United States. I'd vote Bush in for a third term before I'd vote for Santorum!"
Some of the posts were about a dissatisfaction with the choices available for Election 2012. FULL POST
Rick Santorum swept the three Republican presidential contests Tuesday in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, reshaping the race and raising questions about frontrunner Mitt Romney's ability to attract broad conservative support.
Santorum's trifecta halts front-runner Mitt Romney's momentum after the former Massachusetts governor had won the previous two contests and three of the first five prior to Tuesday.FULL STORY
Sunny skies, a large billowing U.S. flag and an appreciative crowd greeted hundreds of Iraq war veterans who marched Saturday in St. Louis in a first-of-its kind "welcome home" ceremony.
Some participants rode motorcycles, while others rode in military trucks or on floats.
Many more veterans walked, waving to thousands who lined downtown streets.
Even a local institution, Anheuser-Busch's Clydesdale horse team, took part in "Welcome Home the Heroes."
Grassroots organizers billed the parade and related activities as the first such event in a major U.S. city.FULL STORY
[Updated at 7:42 p.m. ET] The mother of a 1-year-old boy found dead in Missouri will be charged with killing him, the St. Louis County prosecutor told reporters Wednesday.
The mother, Shelby Dasher, will be charged with second-degree murder, prosecutor Bob McCulloch said.
The accusation comes after the medical examiner ruled that Tyler Daniel Dasher died from multiple blunt force trauma, McCulloch said.
"Ms. Dasher during the interrogation has acknowledged ... she repeatedly struck the baby, primarily because the baby was not cooperating; the baby was crying, the baby was not laying down and wouldn't go back to sleep," he said.
Tyler's body was found in a wooded area about a mile from his home Tuesday. He was reported missing earlier that day.