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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

IL gubernatorial candidates differ on pension plan

Monday, 02 December 2013 06:05 Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) — Candidates running for Illinois governor in 2014 have started shaping up their positions on a new pension proposal that lawmakers are expected to consider this week.

   Republican venture capitalist Bruce Rauner said in an email yesterday to supporters that it's the wrong deal for Illinois. He says the savings are insufficient and he doesn't agree with how lawmakers reached the agreement.

   Meanwhile Republican state Sen. Bill Brady says he's in favor. In a statement, he says that it's package of "meaningful reforms" that would strengthen Illinois' fiscal stability. Brady sat on a bipartisan pension panel for months.

   Last week, the state's four legislative leaders announced some details of the deal aimed at solving the state's nearly $100 billion pension crisis. It's estimated to save about $160 billion over three decades.

Study: Airports contribute $11B to Mo. economy

Monday, 02 December 2013 06:01 Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A recent Missouri Department of Transportation study estimates that the annual economic output of the state's airport system is $11.1 billion.

   The study examined the nine commercial and 99 public-use airports that the agency supports. Combined, the airports contribute more than 100,000 jobs with a payroll of $3.1 billion.

   Using Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, the study examined direct and indirect impacts. It found that the economic contribution of Missouri airports grew 17.1 percent in the past decade despite the economic recession. The growth was fueled largely by an increase in business activity.

   In 2012, an estimated 6.2 million travelers arrived in Missouri via commercial airports and more than 260,000 arrived on general aviation aircraft.

More information about the Missouri Statewide Airports Economic Impact Study can be found online:  http://www.modot.org/othertransportation/aviation/aviationgeneralinformation.htm

Hospital worker to be sentenced in hepatitis case

Monday, 02 December 2013 05:57 Published in National News

   CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A traveling medical technician who infected dozens of patients in multiple states with hepatitis C through tainted syringes was due to find out Monday how many decades he'll spend in a New Hampshire prison.

   David Kwiatkowski, 34, worked as a cardiac technologist in 18 hospitals in seven states before being hired at New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital in 2011, moving from job to job despite being fired at least four times over allegations of drug use and theft. Since his arrest last year, 46 people in four states have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries.

   Kwiatkowski, who has admitted stealing painkillers and replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood, pleaded guilty in August to 16 federal drug charges.

   In court documents filed last week, prosecutors said Kwiatkowski should spend 40 years in prison because he created a "national public health crisis," put a significant number of people at risk and caused substantial physical and emotional harm to a large number of victims. Defense lawyers argued that a 30-year sentence would better balance the seriousness of the crimes against Kwiatkowski's mental and emotional problems and his addiction to drugs and alcohol, which they said clouded his judgment.

   In all, 32 patients were infected in New Hampshire, seven in Maryland, six in Kansas and one in Pennsylvania. Kwiatkowski, 34, also worked in Michigan, New York, Arizona and Georgia.

   Two of the 16 charges stem from the case of a Kansas patient who has since died. Authorities say hepatitis C, a blood-borne virus that can cause liver disease and chronic health problems, played a contributing role.

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