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Well, it was nice while it lasted. For nearly a year, the average used vehicle in the United States had been gradually edging toward affordable again for millions of people. The relief felt belated and relatively slight, but it was welcome nonetheless. From an eye-watering peak of $31,400 in April of last year, the average price had dropped 14% to $27,125 early this month. Now, with the supply of used vehicles failing to keep up with robust demand, prices are creeping up again. So many buyers have been priced out of the new-car market that fewer trade-ins are landing on dealer lots. Deepening the shortage, fewer used vehicles are coming off leases or being off-loaded by rental car companies.

St. Louis’ elected prosecutor says she will run for reelection in 2024, even as she tries to fend off an effort by Missouri’s attorney general to force her out of office. Democratic Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner spoke Tuesday night at an often-raucous public forum and made it clear that not only will she not resign, but that she plans to run again. Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey last month filed a lawsuit asking a judge to remove Gardner from office, citing a low rate of convictions in homicide cases and other problems. Gardner, who is Black, says Bailey and other critics have “made it about race.” Bailey responded that Gardner is the one “injecting race and politics into a legal proceeding."

Public outrage is swift following mass shootings such as the one that killed six people at a Nashville elementary school. But what comes next from policymakers often depends on which political party is in charge of a state. Don't expect new gun controls in Republican-led states such as Tennessee. By contrast, many Democratic-led states often respond with more gun limits — even if they already have restrictive laws. New gun control measures are advancing this year in Democratic-led Colorado and Michigan following recent mass shootings, but not in Republican-led Texas or Missouri. But both of those states have approved more money for school safety initiatives.

MLB The Show is breaking a video game barrier: For the first time, the franchise will insert some of the greatest Negro League players — from Satchel Paige to Jackie Robinson — into the 2023 edition of the game as playable characters. Video gamers are now able to venture into a storyline mode involving eight Negro League legends through MLB The Show 23, which released Tuesday. The narrative experience features short videos about the players along with gameplay focused on the epic moments of their careers. The game features other players including Buck O’Neil, Rube Foster, Hilton Smith, John Donaldson, Hank Thompson and Martin Dihigo.

A new Georgia commission to discipline and remove wayward prosecutors would be the latest move by Republicans nationwide to ratchet up oversight. The Georgia measure got final approval by the state Senate after House passage earlier Monday. It now goes to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who has previously voiced support. The Georgia bill parallels efforts to remove prosecutors in Florida, Missouri, Indiana and Pennsylvania. It's also part of broader disputes nationwide over how certain criminal offenses should be charged. All the efforts strike at the question of prosecutorial discretion — a prosecutor’s decision of what cases to try and what charges to bring.

A federal lawsuit accuses automakers Kia and Hyundai of failing to install industry-standard anti-theft technology, resulting in thousands of thefts of vehicles in St. Louis. The Missouri city filed the lawsuit Monday seeking damages in excess of $75,000 plus punitive damages. Several other cities that have filed similar lawsuits, including Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Diego, Columbus, Ohio, and Seattle. Kias and Hyundais have been targeted since a TikTok social media challenge put a spotlight on their lack of an immobilizer, showing viewers how to hot-wire cars with a USB cord and a screwdriver. The thefts have reportedly resulted in eight fatalities across the U.S.

Jordan Miller scored 27 points and made a series of crucial foul shots down the stretch as Miami rallied to an 88-81 victory over Texas for a spot in the Final Four. Miller finished 7 of 7 from the field and 13 of 13 from the foul line, while Isaiah Wong scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half for the Hurricanes. They are headed to NRG Stadium in Houston for a date with UConn on Saturday night. Two more first-time Final Four participants, San Diego State and Florida Atlantic, will play in the other national semifinal. Marcus Carr had 17 points to lead the Longhorns.

One Missouri man's Friday morning took an unexpected turn when he rescued a woman from flash floods engulfing her SUV. A severe weather system moving across the Midwest and South led to flash floods and a heavy downpour Friday near Granby, Missouri. When one elderly woman's SUV got swept up in the rushing flood waters, Layton Hoyer made his way through icy-cold waters to rescue her. Jim Channel, assistant Granby fire chief and friend of Hoyer's, shared the story of his rescue mission Friday. Hoyer said he hopes to meet the woman again.

A Missouri grade school that was shut down last year amid concerns of possible radioactive contamination will not reopen. Jana Elementary School, in the St. Louis County town of Florissant, closed in October after a private study indicated the presence of contamination. The study was funded by lawyers whose clients were suing over radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek, which runs near the school. Though a follow-up study by the Army Corps of Engineers and a third study found no signs of contamination, the school never reopened. A statement from the Hazelwood School District Thursday said staff and students will remain in the schools they were moved to.

Missouri minors no longer could receive gender-affirming treatments under a state Senate-approved bill. Missouri's Republican-led Senate has voted 24-8 in favor of banning puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries for minors for the next four years. Minors currently receiving treatment would be exempt. The bill now heads to the GOP-led House for consideration. Senators also passed legislation limiting which teams transgender student athletes can compete on. Republicans are pushing nationwide to restrict transgender health care, drag shows, bathroom access and the discussion of LGBTQ topics in schools. At least seven states have already enacted restrictions or bans on such care.

An escape-artist bear from Missouri is headed to a Texas zoo with a moat in hopes it will put an end to his wandering. The St. Louis Zoo cited the “specific and unique personality” of the Andean bear named Ben in announcing the move Tuesday. His soon-to-be home at the Gladys Porter Zoo near South Padre Island in Brownsville, Texas, has a long history of working with Andean bears. But it’s still adding some extra security measures. Ben gained notoriety in February by busting out of his habitat twice. Regina Mossotti, the St. Louis Zoo's vice president of animal care, says he's “playful” and that the zoo would have loved to keep him.

Missouri’s attorney general says he will issue an emergency regulation that at least temporarily puts strict limits on transgender medical treatment for youth. The planned rule comes as legislators in that state and many others seek bans or other restrictions on the treatment. Doctors and advocates for the transgender community contend the rule contains misleading or incorrect information straight from the playbook of anti-trans activists. The rule targets treatment for gender-questioning children, claiming it is experimental and risky. Critics say puberty blockers and hormones have been used safely for decades. Though not specifically approved for transgender care, they're used “off label,” an accepted practice across medicine.

The tax-cutting trend is going full force in states even as some are raising concerns about a slowing economy. The Missouri House on Tuesday became the latest legislative chamber to endorse a $1 billion tax-cutting plan. It needs another vote to advance to the Senate. But several states already have enacted notable tax cuts this year, including Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. A tax-cutting bill also is pending before New Mexico's governor. The tax cuts come as many states have large surpluses. About two-thirds of states enacted some sort of tax relief last year.

Debate that began Tuesday on a bill that seeks to ban gender-affirming care for minors quickly grew contentious on the floor of the Nebraska Legislature, with supporters and opponents admonishing each other for a lack of collegiality. The bill introduced by Omaha Sen. Kathleen Kauth would outlaw gender-affirming therapies such as hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgery for those 18 and younger. An amendment she introduced Tuesday would drop the ban on hormone treatments and ban only gender reassignment surgery for minors. But opponents kept up their objections. That included Omaha Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, who staged a nearly three-week filibuster of every bill that came before lawmakers to protest the trans bill.

A Missouri man dubbed the “Package Killer” for his method of disposing bodies received two life sentences Tuesday after admitting to killing two women in the St. Louis area more than 30 years ago. Gary Muehlberg has now pleaded guilty to killing three women and faces a hearing next week in the death of a fourth. Remains of all four victims were found in 1990 or 1991. The 74-year-old Muehlberg is already in prison for killing a man in 1993. He was charged in the deaths of the women last year after a detective found DNA evidence while examining old, unsolved homicides. Prosecutors said in September that Muehlberg confessed after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.


The Missouri Senate has given initial approval to legislation that would temporarily prohibit gender-affirming treatments for minors and restrict their participation in sports. The Republican-led Senate advanced the bills Tuesday after an all-night session. Democrats allowed the votes after the GOP agreed not to prohibit gender transitions already in process, and to let the measures expire in 2027. Doctors could lose their licenses and schools would lose state funding if they don’t comply. Republicans are pushing nationwide to restrict transgender health care, drag shows, bathroom access and the discussion of LGBTQ topics in schools.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to test for radioactive contamination at a suburban St. Louis park that sits along a notoriously toxic creek. The Corps of Engineers is seeking permission from St. Louis County to test soil and water at Fort Belle Fontaine Park, a popular spot for hikers with high bluffs and panoramic views. The park sits near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Coldwater Creek runs through the park. The notoriously contaminated creek has been a headache for decades, since radioactive waste got into the waterway in the 1950s. Residents who lived along the creek as children in the 1960s and later have blamed illnesses, including rare cancers, on playing in the creek.

Missouri's Republican attorney general says his office will limit access to gender-affirming care for minors. Attorney General Andrew Bailey on Monday announced an emergency rule requiring an 18-month waiting period before children can receive gender-affirming health care. Bailey's office didn't say when the rule will kick in. Bailey says he's also requiring any mental health issues be treated before minors can get gender-affirming care. The move comes as Missouri's Republican senators struggle to pass a law banning that health care for minors. Protesters are pressuring them to act. A chief diversity officer for the American Psychological Association called the attorney general's rule “a disturbing development."

Legal advice from state attorneys general sought by other government officials often has been treated as a public record — but not in every state. Wyoming's attorney general has declined to publicly release the advice she provided to local officials about how to handle citizen requests for election recounts. The attorney general says that's closed as a matter of attorney-client privilege. An Associated Press review found that about one-fifth of states haven't publicly posted attorney general's opinions in recent years. Some attorney general offices say they haven't provided any recent formal opinions.

Scientists are digging into why a few people escape the rarest form of Alzheimer's, which is inherited and strikes young. Every so often, someone dodges their family's genetic fate. Doug Whitney of Port Orchard, Washington, is one of those lucky “escapees.” He's a healthy 73 despite a gene that gave generations of his family Alzheimer's symptoms by age 50. Scientists in St. Louis are scouring Whitney's DNA and looking for other escapees for clues to their resilience. The hope is that mimicking what protects them might one day help not just these families but more common old-age Alzheimer's, too.

Almost a year after a Missouri teen fell to his death, a 400-foot (122 meter) amusement ride was being dismantled this week in central Florida’s tourism corridor. A gigantic crane in Orlando’s International Drive tourism district hovered Wednesday beside the towering ride where 14-year-old Tyre Sampson slipped in March 2022. A fence encircled the ride and blocked off parts of the nearby sidewalk and road. The ride’s dismantling was expected to take several days. Sampson, who lived in the St. Louis area, was visiting Orlando during spring break when he died from the fall.

The elected prosecutor in St. Louis is accusing Missouri’s attorney general of seeking her ouster for political gain. Democratic Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is under intense scrutiny after a visiting teenage athlete lost her legs in a crash blamed on a man who remained free from jail despite multiple bond violations. Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey filed a lawsuit that seeks to remove her from office. Gardner filed a court response late Tuesday. Bailey’s effort includes criticism that too many crimes, including homicides, go unpunished in St. Louis. Gardner's filing accuses Bailey of seeking to “take advantage of a tragedy for political gain.”

A Kansas City, Missouri, police officer who fatally shot a man at a convenience store nearly two years ago will not be charged with a crime, following a decision by a special prosecutor. Malcolm Johnson was killed in March 2021. Some civil rights, religious and community activists said the shooting of Johnson, who was Black, was part of a trend of officers in Missouri’s largest city killing Black men. They questioned if officers gave Johnson sufficient time to surrender before shooting him. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell’s office announced Monday that no charges should be filed. Bell’s office took on the case after Jackson County prosecutors cited a conflict of interest.

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