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CHESTER, Ill. (AP) - A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections says the lockdown at Illinois' largest maximum security prison will remain in effect through this week.
 
   Tom Shaer says Monday that the lockdown at Menard Correctional Center southeast of St. Louis won't be lifted until an investigation is finished. The lockdown started on Friday following the discovery of a cache of crude weapons and homemade alcohol.
 
   Specifically officials found more than a dozen weapons along with gallons of homemade alcohol and juice and sugar used to make liquor.
   Officials have said IDOC is working to determine how the inmates managed to hoard the items.
 
   Authorities say there is no indication any weapons have been used recently at the prison or that inmates were drinking homemade liquor.
Monday, 07 April 2014 15:53
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators are going forward with a two-prong funding plan for public schools that bases their state aid on the strength of the economy.
 
A Senate panel agreed Monday to the basic approach of the House school funding plan but tweaked its specific dollar amounts.
 
The House plan would add $122 million to Missouri's $3.1 billion in basic aid for school districts. But it would authorize an increase of up to $278 million if revenues meet Gov. Jay Nixon's more optimistic projections.
 
The Senate Appropriations Committee decided to provide a minimum $115 million increase, leaving a larger portion of the potential $278 million increase dependent upon improved revenue collections.
 
Senators typically change the House budget plan. Negotiators from the two chambers must work out their differences by early May.
 
Monday, 07 April 2014 15:26
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   The St. Francois County Sheriff's Office is now investigating Monday's fatal fire near Park Hills as a double homicide.

   Firefighters arrived about 4:30 a.m. to find the home on Halter Lane fully involved.  Authorities say flames were too intense to try to attempt a rescue.  

  Firefighters later found the body 50 year old Stanley Halter on a back porch and that of 46 year old Tammy Halter in the kitchen.  The couples children were not home at the time of the fire.  

   Authorities aren't releasing the couples cause of death, only saying that the autopsies gave them reasonable cause to pursue a homicide investigation.

   Park Hills is about 65 miles south of St. Louis.

Monday, 07 April 2014 13:48
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A disgraced Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal is getting time to square away things before serving a two-year sentence on heroin and gun convictions.
 
But exactly where Michael Cook will spend his time behind bars remains murky.
 
A filing by U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade shows the former St. Clair County judge must surrender by May 28 to whatever lockup the Federal Bureau of Prisons slots for him.
 
McDade also recommends that Cook be placed in a prison in Florida, Alabama or South Carolina.
 
Cook was sentenced last month.
 
He resigned last year. He was charged after the cocaine-overdose death of a fellow judge while the two were at the Cook family's hunting cabin.
Monday, 07 April 2014 11:55
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St. Louis, April 7- Average retail gasoline prices in St. Louis have risen 9.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.57 per gallon on Sunday.  This is according to GasBuddy.com's daily survey of nearly one thousand gas outlets in St. Louis.
These numbers compare with the national average that has increased 1.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.55 per gallon. 
 
Including the change in gas prices in St. Louis during the past week, prices yesterday were 1.4 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 5.0 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.
 
The national average has increased 7.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 3.1 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago. 
Monday, 07 April 2014 09:07
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   A teenager from St. Genevieve is dead and two others are injured after an accident Sunday night in South St. Louis County.  The crash happened just after 7:00 p.m. on southbound I-55 just north of Highway 61.  

   The Missouri Highway Patrol reports that 17 year old Danielle Pfaff was killed when the Pontiac Grand Am she was driving left the highway and struck a tree.  Pfaff was pronounced dead at the scene.  

   A 16 year old girl was airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Creve Couer with serious injuries.  A 15 year old girl was taken by ambulance to Mercy Jefferson Hospital with moderate injuries.  

   It's not clear what caused Pfaff to lose control of her car. 

Monday, 07 April 2014 04:30
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   St. Louis County Councilwoman Kathleen Burkett has died.  After a nearly year-long battle with cancer, the 68 year old Burkett passed away at her Overland home Sunday morning.  

   Burkett had represented the 2nd Council District since 2002.  She had been a longtime fixture of the St. Louis County Democratic Party, and had chaired the County's Democratic Central Committee through most of the 1990s.  

   During her tenure, she was a fierce opponent of the anti-smoking ban and was well known for her outspoken demeanor.  

   County Executive Charlie Dooley issued a statement Sunday praising Burkett as someone who took care of her constituents "like they were her own family."  

   A special election to fill her seat will be held as part of the November 4th general election.

Monday, 07 April 2014 03:22
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   A school bus driver in St. Charles County caught texting while driving is now out of work.  

   Officials with the Francis Howell School District tell the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that a middle-school student had taken a video of the driver texting with kids on board Thursday.  Parents contacted the district about the incident.  

   Francis Howell spokeswoman Jennifer Henry tells the paper that the company the driver worked for fired the driver as a result of the incident.  

   The driver isn't likely to face a citation since Missouri law only bars texting while driving for drivers age 21 and under.

Monday, 07 April 2014 02:55
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   Cleanup and repairs are still going on five months after tornadoes struck two central Illinois towns.

   Fayette County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Kendra Cray says debris removal has been the biggest challenge in Brownstown and St. Elmo after last November's tornadoes.  

   Cray tells the Effingham Daily News that her office has been working to educate residents as tornado seasons returns. She says they're starting efforts with children because "if we can prepare them, they prepare the parents."  

   St. Elmo has about 1,400 residents and Brownstown has about 750. The towns are about 80 miles east of St. Louis.

Monday, 07 April 2014 02:45
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