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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Talk about a fly ball.
 
A Champaign man has set the new Guinness World Records Book mark for catching a softball from the greatest height.
 
The Champaign News-Gazette reports 53-year-old Chris Shields managed to catch a softball tossed out of an ultralight plane hovering 250 feet above the ground.
 
Shields said he decided to go for the record after his 10-year-old daughter, Olivia, suggested the idea after watching him catch a pop-up.
 
He checked with Guinness officials who agreed to create the category.
 
Shields was able to catch the ball in his mitt last July on the second try.
 
He says the record is for fun, but adds it gives him a "street credential."
Thursday, 16 January 2014 13:26
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The best chess players in the U.S. are again headed to St. Louis.
 
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis in the city's Central West End will host the 2014 U.S. Championship in May. The U.S. Women's Championship will happen simultaneously, and the top juniors' tournament comes to town in June.
 
It's the sixth straight year St. Louis has hosted the national events and the fifth year in a row for the under-20 event.
 
St. Louis is also site of the World Chess Hall of Fame, and Webster University has the country's top collegiate squad. In September, prominent political donor Rex Sinquefield hosted a four-player grandmasters event featuring world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway and top U.S. player Hikaru Nakamura, a St. Louis resident.
 
Thursday, 16 January 2014 13:15
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St. Louis based Edward Jones has been named one of the top places in the country to work.
 
The financial services firm has been tabbed by Fortune magazine as the 4th best company to work for in America.  The magazine released its top 100 today.  Edward Jones ranked 8th last year and has been named to the list for the last 15 years. The company has over 38-thousand employees.  
 
To select the 100 Best Companies to Work For, FORTUNE partners with the Great Place to Work Institute.
 
Thursday, 16 January 2014 12:59
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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois woman who was charged in 2011 with providing heroin that killed her boyfriend and another man has been acquitted of charges she injected a woman with a nonfatal overdose of the drug.
 
Madison County jurors on Wednesday found 30-year-old Angella Halliday not guilty of an aggravated battery count linked to the overdose last July of a Wood River woman who was revived by paramedics.
 
Halliday was charged in 2011 with two counts of drug-induced homicide for allegedly providing the heroin that killed a Worden man and her boyfriend weeks apart.
 
Prosecutors dropped the homicide charges in 2012 after Halliday pleaded guilty to delivery of a prescription anti-anxiety medication near a school. She was sentenced to four years in prison but was paroled last May.
Thursday, 16 January 2014 12:22
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House committee is considering legislation that would outlaw a phenomenon known as "revenge pornography."
 
"Revenge porn" is posting online sexually explicit photos or videos of ex-romantic partners as a way of humiliating them.
 
Sponsoring Rep. Kevin Engler told the House public safety committee Thursday that revenge porn can have a devastating effect on a person's life. The Farmington Republican's legislation would prohibit someone from observing and then disclosing images of intimate sexual acts without the other person's consent.
 
Disclosing the explicit images would be considered a felony and is punishable by up to four years in prison.
 
The panel did not vote on Engler's bill. Other states, including Pennsylvania and Virginia, are considering similar measures.
Thursday, 16 January 2014 12:21
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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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