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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

St. Louis group seeks out the homeless in cold

Monday, 16 December 2013 07:04 Published in Around Town

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The onset of cold weather means that volunteers with Winter Outreach in St. Louis have sprung into action.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the grassroots organization offers eight temporary shelters with a combined 100 beds or so to help the homeless when the temperatures turn cold.

Volunteers drive and walk around the city and St. Louis County, seeking out those in need of shelter. The organization also shuttles people to shelters from the Bridge, a feeding program at Centenary United Methodist Church downtown.

The Housing Resource Center in St. Louis said that 14,155 people requested shelter through the city and St. Louis County through the end of November, but nearly three-fourths of them were unable to be referred to an open space.

Budget deal may signal era of tiny achievements

Sunday, 15 December 2013 08:54 Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislative leaders are calling the modest budget deal a bipartisan breakthrough even as they agree it does little.

But several Washington insiders warn against assuming that it will be followed by progress on other issues such as immigration.

Here's what Republican Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas says: "I don't think that's what this was about."

House approval of the budget deal marked a rare cease-fire between Democrats and Republicans. But the main purpose was to prevent a repeat of last fall's government shutdown.

Some activists say there's no obvious follow-up to what the White House calls a "good first step."

Some Republicans say the budget deal will just make it easier for them to focus criticism on their favorite target — President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Coast Guard wants barges to ship fracking water

Sunday, 15 December 2013 08:53 Published in National News

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard wants to allow barges filled with fracking wastewater to ply the nation's rivers on their way toward disposal. Many environmentalists are horrified, but industry groups say barge transport has its advantages.

Critics of the plan say that if there was an accident, it could threaten the drinking water supply of millions of people. They also cite the uncertainty around what's in that toxic mix.

The Coast Guard is proposing to address that by requiring chemical testing of each barge load before shipment.

The wastewater now is usually disposed of by truck or rail. A government report notes that poses more risk for accidents than shipping by barge.

The industry says far greater amounts of toxic chemicals are already being moved by barge, including oil drilling waste.

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