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A recently opened search warrant reveals the evidence authorities seized when they searched former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook's hunting cabin in Pike County, and his home in Belleville.
Drugs, guns and ammunition are among the evidence discovered by federal agents during the search which came two months after Associate Judge Joe Christ died of a cocaine overdose at the cabin.
Cook was in custody at the time of the search. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that despite the lag between Christ's death and searches of Cook's cabin and Belleville home, federal agents uncovered 48 items of potential evidence, including drug paraphernalia coated in a white powder.  
Cook pleaded guilty to drug and gun charges and agreed to an 18 month sentence.  However, the federal judge presiding over the case says he's unhappy with the sentence recommended by prosecutors.  
Judge Joe Billy McDade has ordered the U.S. Probation Office to investigate, prepare and distribute a supplemental pre-sentence report. Cook is expected to be sentenced next month.
Thursday, 16 January 2014 10:20
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois State Police say almost one in four of the roughly 23,000 people who've applied for concealed carry permits live in Cook County.
Figures released this week show the highly populated county leading the rankings with more than 5,300 applications that have been filed since Jan. 5.
Will and DuPage counties followed in second and third with almost 1,800 and 1,600 applications respectively.
But on a per capita basis, rural counties have the highest proportion of applicants.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports when comparing application numbers to a county's population, Cumberland County in east-central Illinois ranks first. Fifty-six people there have applied for the permits. Cumberland has about 11,000 residents.
On a per capita basis, Cook County ranks last. Illinois is the last state in the U.S. to allow concealed weapons.
 
Thursday, 16 January 2014 08:45
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ALTON, Ill. (AP) - Members of Illinois' congressional delegation want the Army Corps of Engineers to use some of the funding included in a spending bill to fix portions of a Mississippi River levee.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, and Republican congressmen Rodney Davis and John Shimkus made the request in a letter also signed by Democratic Rep. Bill Enyart.
In correspondence to Jo-Ellen Darcy, a top Army Corps official, the delegation asks that the corps make fixing the Wood River levee northeast of St. Louis near Alton a priority.
Calling the problem "critical," the lawmakers say the river barrier was negatively affected by a design deficiency in the construction of the Melvin Price Lock and Dam near Alton.
 
Thursday, 16 January 2014 08:16
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones plans to file legislation that would let health care workers refuse to participate in procedures that violate their ethical or religious beliefs.
The measure would apply to procedures such as those involving abortion-inducing drugs, artificial insemination and the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration. Religiously-affiliated hospitals would be shielded from liability for refusing medical procedures violating their religious beliefs.
Jones, a Republican from Eureka, sponsored a similar bill last year. The measure passed the House but not the Senate.
Critics in the House argued last year the legislation could inhibit access to health care for some Missourians. Jones has said the proposal protects workers' rights.
Thursday, 16 January 2014 08:06
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The constitutionality of Missouri's flag desecration law is on the docket for a federal appeals court panel in St. Louis.
A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday will hear the case of Cape Girardeau resident Frank Snider III.
Snider was arrested in 2009 for cutting up an American flag, throwing it into the street and trying to set it on fire. When that failed he used a knife to shred it.
Police arrested Snider, citing Missouri's flag desecration statute. Prosecutors dismissed the charge after learning of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deemed a similar law in Texas unconstitutional.
In 2012, a federal judge in St. Louis ruled Missouri's law was unconstitutional. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appealed to the 8th Circuit.
   
 
Thursday, 16 January 2014 08:00
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   A local group says cold war era nuclear waste is still sickening current and former residents along Cold Water Creek in north St. Louis County.  
   The group is called "Coldwater Creek—Just the facts please."  They group says an informal survey shows a higher than normal cancer rate among those who lived near the creek, which runs from near Lambert Airport through Florissant to the Missouri River.  
   The survey found more than 1,200 total cancers among 3,300 people who had lived around the creek, including 202 thyroid cancers or conditions, 113 brain tumors and 39 appendix cancers.  
   The group wants federal health investigators to classify the area as contaminated. That designation could lead to government compensation for their health problems.
 
Thursday, 16 January 2014 04:35
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Police say the search of a property in Glen Carbon, Illinois turned up no evidence of a crime.

 

Investigators from state and local police had been searching the home for the last two days. Officers first arrived at the home on Saturday. They found the body of 83-year-old Mary Kampwerth in the driveway--she had died from exposure. Police say they received a tip that unrelated criminal activity may have taken place on the property, but they found nothing.

 

Glen Carbon Police Chief John Lakin said the search is now complete.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 17:27
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House member has renewed her call for state Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro to resign.
 
Democrat Genise Montecillo, of St. Louis, addressed Nicastro during a hearing of the House Budget Committee on Wednesday.
 
Nicastro has faced criticism over various issues in recent months, including the award of a contract to a consulting firm to draft a turnaround plan for unaccredited school districts.
 
Montecillo urged Nicastro to step down last year. On Wednesday, she said the commissioner's resignation would be the responsible thing to do for Missouri's children.
 
Nicastro responded that she has a history with urban schools and that her record speaks for herself. She said others can do her job as well but that she's not sure the state could find anyone more willing and committed.
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:51
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A St. Louis man is facing charges connected to a double shooting that happened last week.

 

Police say that John Trevillion shot Tony West and Brian Jordan in the 4700 block of Fletcher in Northwoods. West survived the attack, but Jordan died. Trevillion now faces several felony charges including first-degree murder.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:54
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A nonprofit federal data tracker says the U.S. government filed a record number of health-care fraud cases during the latest federal fiscal year.
 
Southern Illinois federal prosecutors helped lead the way in pursuing charges against such white-collar scammers.
 
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University says in a new report that 377 new prosecutions were opened during the fiscal year ending last October. That's up 3 percent from the previous year and 7.7 percent from five years ago.
 
The clearinghouse says prosecutions that the U.S. Attorney's Office in southern Illinois opened led the nation per-capita. That's more than eight times the U.S. average.
 
Those behind the report say the latest numbers may reflect that federal authorities are devoting more resources toward attacking health-care fraud.
 
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 13:42
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