ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police in St. Louis say a man out celebrating the arrival of 2012 was shot to death just an hour into the new year. According to reports, 52-year-old Conyea Willis was shot around one o’clock yesterday morning while walking to his car. Police say another man approached Willis and demanded money, then fired two shots into the victim’s abdomen. Willis was pronounced dead at a hospital.

REPUBLIC, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri medical examiner says a 17-year-old boy found dead in a ditch may have been the victim of a homicide. The Greene County Sheriff says a passer-by found the body in a ditch along a farm road near Republic around 7:30 Saturday morning. The boy has been identified as Weston North. The ditch is located about a mile southeast of Republic High School.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill considers herself an underdog heading into her 2012 re-election bid. The Democratic senator from Missouri casting herself as an underdog to the Republican nominee because of the economic concerns of many voters.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Kansas City fire officials say a blaze that heavily damaged a 107-year-old Westport church was an accident sparked when materials ignited during installation of an air conditioner on the roof. The fire at Westport Presbyterian Church was reported around 5:30 p.m. Thursday and caused up to $4 million in damage.

CREVE COEUR, Mo. (AP) – A St. Louis County man whose sleeping baby was nearly hit by a shot apparently fired by a New Year’s reveler says he’s outraged that someone would be so careless. Police in Creve Coeur (KREEV kor) said yesterday that a falling .45-caliber bullet pierced the ceiling in Dave Marting’s one-story home a few feet from where 9-month-old Keira’s crib.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri legislative leaders will be redefining their approach to economic development when the 2012 session begins Wednesday. Lawmakers were unable to agree this past year on a comprehensive bill that would have cut back many existing tax credits and authorized new incentives for certain businesses. Republican legislative leaders say they will be focusing on other areas besides financial incentives this session.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man who spent nearly 15 years in prison for his mother’s murder before a judge freed him is suing Osage County and three law enforcement officers who helped put him behind bars. Dale Helmig was convicted in 1996 of killing his mother, Norma Helmig, in 1993 near Linn. Helmig’s suit alleges that the Osage County Sheriff failed to present evidence favorable to his defense.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Transportation officials have released a plan exploring two options for expanding passenger rail service in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. One plan would provide nighttime passenger service between Fort Worth, Texas and the south-central Kansas town of Newton. The other option is a daytime service between Fort Worth and Kansas City, Missouri.