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News Briefs: Distracted driving repeal fails in O’Fallon


Schweikert, Oman file as candidates for mayor

Lake Saint Louis Mayor Kathy Schweikert and Eric Oman are the two candidates who have filed their candidacies for mayor in the April 7 city election.

The candidate elected mayor in April will serve the remaining two years of the late Mayor Ralph Sidebottom’s four-year term.

Schweikert, president of the board, was appointed as “mayor pro tem” in September by the city’s Board of Aldermen. She has served as a Ward 2 alderman since 2009.

Oman is a former aldermanic candidate.

Former Mayor Michael Potter, who was appointed to replace Schweikert in Ward 2, filed as the lone candidate in that race.

Gary Turner is the only candidate to file for the Ward 1 seat held by incumbent Tony Zito, who did not file for re-election. Incumbent John Pellerito is unopposed in Ward 3.



Distracted driving repeal fails

A petition drive to repeal an ordinance governing distracted driving in O’Fallon has failed, according to city officials.

Tom Drabelle, O’Fallon’s communications director, said the petitioner for the referendum had until Dec. 22 to turn in a list of signatures of registered voters.

The distracted driving ordinance reworked existing city code regarding careless and imprudent driving, adding wording that pertains to certain actions, such as applying makeup or reading anything besides vehicle gauges and equipment, that could take place behind the wheel. The ordinance states that actions such as those, or anything else that turns a driver’s attention away from the roadway, will be considered prima facie evidence, meaning it will be considered true unless disproven.

The ordinance was approved by an 8-1 City Council vote on Oct. 23; however, it has raised some opposition, with some saying it is too extreme, while others claim it adds an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.


Attempt to overturn backyard chicken decision fails

O’Fallon resident Patrick Stovall, who has been pushing for an ordinance allowing the keeping of chickens on residential properties, has temporarily slowed his efforts.

Stovall had appeared regularly at the O’Fallon City Council with requests in support of a backyard chicken ordinance, which the council voted down in November of 2014.

In an attempt to overturn that decision, Stovall had sought to collect, before a January deadline, enough signatures on a petition to have the issue put on the April ballot. However, he said due to the holidays and his own schedule he was unable to do so.

To place the issue on the August ballot would call for a special election in O’Fallon, and while Stovall said the issue was still important to him, he did not want to force a special election.

“By forcing a special election, that would cost the taxpayers anywhere from $130,000 to $150,000,” Stovall said.

Stovall said he learned his lesson this time around, and that he plans on returning to the council to talk about the issue.



Ballot set for April 7 election

In St. Peters, Michael Shea and Teresa McWhorter filed for the Ward 3 seat formerly held by Alderman Tommie Roberts, who resigned in November. Janet Shetterly, who filed earlier, withdrew her candidacy, city officials said.

Roberts, who had served on the board since 2008, resigned citing family reasons, saying he and his family were moving to Webster Groves to be closer to his wife’s family, who help with their children.

The new alderman elected to Roberts’ seat in April will serve the remaining year of his unexpired term. The city has eight aldermen with two elected from each ward to four-year terms.

Incumbent Alderman David Thomas (Ward 1) faces a challenge from Michael Boyd.

Incumbent aldermen Judy Bateman (Ward 2); Terri Violet (Ward 3) and Donald Aytes (Ward 4) are unopposed. St. Peters municipal Judge Donald Kohl faces a challenge from Michael Wood.



Lindenwood University receives DESE approval

The Lindenwood University School of Education has met every Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) standard in Missouri’s required Annual Performance Report for Education Preparation Programs, paving the way for continuous state accreditation.

Dean Cynthia Bice said the new DESE report requires collection of a myriad of items, but in particular contains student GPAs and assessment scores. The DESE approval assures that Lindenwood has satisfied certain requirements established for the state and that the institution has attained a high level of quality.

“The requirements are more rigorous than ever before,” Bice said. “It is a very meaningful and powerful statement about the strengths of our programs.”

The DESE approval comes just as the School of Education prepares for an initial accreditation evaluation with the newly formed national Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) in late January. Bice said the CAEP is the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Lindenwood has been a TEAC member in good standing for 14 years.


University’s online offerings receive national recognition

For the second straight year, Lindenwood University’s online bachelor’s degree programs have been ranked among the best in the nation for 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.

The rankings, released to the public on Jan. 7, placed Lindenwood’s online bachelor’s degree programs 98th among 297 schools evaluated. The 297 evaluated schools amount to 17 percent of the schools surveyed and constitute an increase from last year’s total of 283 schools, according to U.S News and World Report. 

“Lindenwood is committed to providing relevant and rigorous learning opportunities in flexible online formats that meet the needs of our students,” said Lindenwood President James D. Evans, PhD, “and this acknowledgement is a meaningful affirmation of the success of our efforts.”

The rankings were based on a variety of measures, including student engagement, faculty credentials and training, peer reputation, and student services and technology. Lindenwood’s online bachelor’s degree programs include bachelor of arts degrees in business, criminal justice, and general studies.

Also listed were Lindenwood’s online graduate education programs, which ranked 162nd, and its online MBA, which was ranked 123rd.


New council chairman named

Councilmember Joe Brazil (District 2) was elected chairman of the St. Charles County Council at its Jan. 12 meeting.  He takes over the seat from Councilmemeber Mike Klinghammer (District 6).

Typically, the council votes to name a chairperson every year.

The council also approved appointing Councilmember Joe Cronin (District 1) as vice chair.

The vote was unanimous with Councilmember David Hammond (District 4) absent.

Councilmember John White (District 7) complemented Klinghammer’s work, saying he had helped steer the council through a difficult year.

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