10 Things to Know: Friday, September 20

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It’s Friday, and here are the “10 Things to Know” to start your day.

1. Know Before You Go: There’s a big shut down in the Metro East tonight. Starting Friday night at 9 p.m., all westbound lanes of 55/70 will be closed from Illinois 203, right by the Gateway Motor Speedway, to the 55/70/64 split.  All lanes are expected to reopen by 5 a.m. Monday. The interstate is closing so the westbound lanes can be resurfaced.

2. A student missed the bus, but didn’t want to miss class. So he did what any other student would do — biked 30 miles to school.  Well, maybe not ‘any other student,’ but J’von Coleman did it. He’s one of 45 students who transferred from the Normandy School District to Francis Howell in St. Charles.  Read the full story.

3. The new iPhones are set to be released on Friday and people are already lining up at stores around St. Louis. Will you be getting the new iPhone?

4.  That cobblestone on Laclede’s Landing is getting a bit of a makeover. The cobblestones will be dug up, a smoother surface laid underneath and then the cobblestones will be put back in place.  The cobblestones date back to the horse and buggy era. Find out more about the project and when the work will begin.

5. Wet Weather Friday:  Rain will continue through midday with some thunder possible at times.  Morning temperatures will be near 70.  This afternoon, the rain ends but skies will remain mostly cloudy…today’s high in the middle 70s.Tonight much cooler air takes control under clear skies we fall into the lower 50s.

6. When the new pope speaks, people listen. Not that we didn’t listen to past pontiffs – but Pope Francis seems to have a different voice. Since his election in March, he’s delivered sharp and unscripted remarks on everything from homosexuality to atheism. In his first news conference this summer, he uttered the now famous words about gay priests, “Who am I to judge?” And now, a new interview released yesterday pushes a more open stance toward gays and lesbians. In it, Pope Francis says the church has the right to express its opinions, but not to “interfere spiritually” in the lives of gays and lesbians. He also says women must play a key role in church decisions, and he addresses critics who say he should be more vocal about fighting abortion and gay marriage. Not all agree with this new pope. But few can say that they’re not listening.

7. Republican versus Republican:  There are some strong words being thrown around about Obamacare and a looming a government shutdown. And that’s between Republicans. A group of them want to defund Obama’s health care plan in exchange for funding the government. The downside is the deadline is October 1. And there’s a growing group that are not on board. We saw a little bit of this infighting play out on Wolf Blitzer’s show yesterday. Rep. Peter King of New York attacked Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, one of the faces of the anti-Obamacare battle. “We as House Republicans should stop letting Ted Cruz set our agenda for us,” King said. “If he can deliver on this, fine. If he can’t, then he should keep quiet from now on and we shouldn’t listen to him.” Cruz says he’ll keep on fighting. We assume he means against Obamacare.

8. A 3-year-old boy was one of 13 people shot last night near a basketball court in Chicago. Yes, you read that right: THIRTEEN! Fortunately, they all survived – but four were in serious condition. Cops are calling the attack gang-related, and have yet to make any arrests. This is just the latest instance of a troubling trend in Chicago. It leads the country in homicides. Last year, there were 500! “This is not just a gun issue,” President Obama said in February. “It’s also an issue of the kinds of communities that we’re building, and for that we all share responsibility as citizens to fix it.”

9.  The worst of the deadly storm has passed, but tension, confusion and damage remain. Manuel, the powerful storm that at one point was a hurricane, had weakened yesterday. But it left some depressing numbers: Some 97 dead across Mexico; 68 missing in one mudslide-ravaged town; 30,000 tourists trapped in Acapulco. The misery was worse in remote areas, like Renacimiento. Just ask Saturnino Medina. He fears nobody will come to his town some 12 miles northeast of Acapulco. Floodwaters crushed his house. “The truth is, I don’t even know what to tell you,” he says. “The government ignores us. They help everyone else, but they’ve forgotten about Renacimiento.”

10.  Some may have had an achy, breaky heart (sorry) over Miley’s antics, but not Billy Ray. He was on Piers Morgan last night, supporting his daughter, defending her. “She’s an artist. She’s real,” he said. What about the flesh-toned lingerie and the twerking? “She’s evolving as an artist,” he said. “That’s still my Miley.” Her latest antics are a far cry from her Disney days playing the wholesome Hannah Montana. What happened? “To come out of the shadows of ‘Hannah Montana,’ it really takes something extremely drastic,” Billy Ray said. “She has risen to a whole new level. I thought I had seen it all – until these last couple of weeks.” You are not the only one, Billy Ray. You’re not the only one.

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