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Morning headlines: Monday, April 30, 2012

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Counterproposal for Edward Jones Dome upgrades due tomorrow

The St. Louis Rams have until tomorrow to offer their own price tag for upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis.

The Rams' lease requires the Dome to be in the "top tier" of stadiums in the National Football League. That tems is not clearly defined, but it's generally meant within the top 25 percent. Otherwise, the Rams are free to depart St. Louis in 2015.

In March, the Rams rejected a $125 million offer from the city. Sports economist Patrick Rishe says the Rams are positioned to ask for much more.

"Just because the city of St. Louis won't build a new facility, or perhaps even invest in significant upgrades in the existing facility, doesn't necessarily mean the Rams are gone," Rishe said, "but it certainly increases the odds."

Rishe expects to see a steep counter-offer from the Rams tomorrow.

"If I'm Stan Kronke and I have new facility in a larger market to go to in Los Angeles, I would go there if I had the choice," he said. The Rams came from Los Angeles in 1994.

The two sides have until June to negotiate, when the matter would enter arbitration.

Victim of Saturday tent collapse identified

St. Louis police have released the name of the person killed on Saturday when a tent collapsed near Busch Stadium.

58-year-old Alfred Goodmann of Waterloo, Ill. was the only fatalility. Police did not provide a cause of death for him. Seventeen other people were injured seriously enough to require hospitalization.

Goodman was killed after a brief but violent thunderstorm blew the tent at Kilroy's Sports Bar off its moorings just before 4 pm Saturday.  The gust shattered the tent's aluminum poles and blew it onto nearby railroad tracks.

A spokesman for Mayor Francis Slay says wind gusts reached about 70 miles per hour - but city code requires tents to withstand gusts of 90 miles per hour.

The storms also brought widespread hail damage, with some reports of softball-sized hailstones. At one point on Saturday about 14,000 Ameren customers were without power.

Ill. chief justice urges state lawmakers to fully fund the courts

Brian Mackey contributed reporting for this story.

The chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court is urging his state's lawmakers to fully fund the state's counrt system.

Thomas Kilbride is making that pitch into a stiff headwind. Springfield appears headed for steep cuts across state government, pushing costs onto cities and school districts, closing facilities, and slashing healthcare for the poor.

But he says a fully-funded court system can actually help the state reduce costs elsewhere.

Kilbride is focusing heavily on probation - those court officers responsible for monitoring l0w-level offenders who are not sent to prison. The current budget brings probation funding down $20 million from where it was a decade ago.

"If you're going to be serious about being tough on crime - because that's the politically convenient thing to say - then you need to take care of the court system," Kilbride said in his keynote address to the Illinois News Broadcasters Association convention on Saturday.

About 600 probation officers have been shed through attrition and layoffs over the last five years, a reduction of nearly a fifth of the workforce.


Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.