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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Legislation that would dramatically change the way schools are funded in Illinois for the first time since 1997 is advancing in the Illinois Legislature.
 
The legislation is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill. It would streamline the state's school funding formula by requiring districts to demonstrate need before receiving money.
 
The current method factors in a district's poverty for some types of state aid but not others.
 
Manar says the bill creates equity between districts that have rich property tax bases and poorer districts.
 
But Republican critics say they want more details before signing on to the proposal.
 
A subcommittee in the state Senate passed the measure on Tuesday. The legislation faces another vote by a Senate committee before it heads to the full chamber.
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 12:12
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WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. (AP) - The University of Connecticut may be celebrating a basketball championship, but Webster University in suburban St. Louis is celebrating back-to-back titles  - in chess.
 
The Webster Groves, Mo.-based university took first place, earning the President's Cup, in a national championship tournament over the weekend in New York. Webster University won with 9.5 points. The University of Maryland-Baltimore County was second with 7 points, followed by Texas Tech with 6.5 points and the University of Illinois with 1 point.
 
It was the fourth title in four years for Webster coach Susan Polgar. She led Texas Tech to two championships before coaching at Webster for the past two years.
 
Webster was undefeated in matches this season, going 9-0.
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:41
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BLACK JACK, Mo. (AP) -- Nearly two months after picking a winning lottery ticket, a suburban St. Louis man has claimed his prize.
The Missouri Lottery says Larry Lacey of Black Jack has presented the winning Lotto ticket from the Feb. 15 drawing. Lacey took the ticket to the St. Louis Lottery office on March 31. 
He purchased the ticket at Black Jack Firestone, using Quick Pick to select the winning numbers: 7, 8, 11, 16, 18 and 40.
Lottery officials say that two winning tickets were sold for the Feb. 15 drawing, so the winners split the $2.3 million jackpot. The other ticket was sold at Larry J’s in St. Louis and was claimed by a man from Illinois in February.
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:37
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Some passengers on Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner will travel via highway instead of rail this week as work continues to restore a section of railroad track east of Warrensburg, Mo.
Recent flash flooding caused some damage to the track. Union Pacific has planned additional maintenance and repair on the rail line that will require afternoon closures on Tuesday, April 8 (today) through April 11.
 
Twice a day the Missouri River Runner serves Kansas City, St. Louis and eight points in between including Kirkwood, Washington, Hermann, and Jefferson City.
 
All morning train service (#311 and #314) for the Missouri River Runner is expected to run on regular schedules. Passengers on the afternoon trains (#313 and #316) will be re-routed to buses to get to their destinations.
 
Passengers with tickets for the afternoon trains should report to the train stations at their scheduled times.
Amtrak will resume full rail service for the Missouri River Runner once repairs are complete.
Travelers are encouraged to check Amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL to get up-to-date information on departure and arrival times.
 
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:39
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A Florissant middle school student is alive today thanks to the quick actions of school officials and the School Resource Officer.

According to Florissant police, Officer Kim Berry was at her post at Cross Keys Middle School on March 31, when she was asked to respond to the school gymnasium for a report of a student having seizures.

When Officer Berry arrived, she discovered that a 14 year old male student was not breathing and did not have a pulse.

Officer Berry and physical education teacher Scott McMurry immediately began CPR while the principal and school nurse arrived from the school office with the Automated External Defibrillator or AED.

One shock was delivered and CPR was continued until the student began to breathe on his own.  

Paramedics from the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District arrived quickly and the victim was then transported to an area hospital where he is recuperating and is expected to make a full recovery.  

The AED used in this incident was purchased by the Ferguson-Florissant School District, which has them in every district building.  

Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:20
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   The union representing Metro Bus drivers says Monday's absenteeism wasn't an organized sickout.

   Nearly 100 bus drivers didn't report to work yesterday -- ten-times the number who might miss on an ordinary day.  But yesterday wasn't ordinary in St. Louis.  It was Opening Day at Busch Stadium.  There has been speculation that the drivers, disgruntled over the lack of progress in contract negotiations, may have been trying to disrupt traffic heading downtown for the Cardinals' home opener.  

   If that was their aim, it wasn't very effective.  Metro Transit CEO John Nations says there were significant delays on Missouri bus lines yesterday, but MetroLink and Illinois bus lines weren't affected.  Since most public transit rider heading for Busch Stadium use MetroLink, they saw few delays.

   Nations says the transit agency called in extra drivers in an effort to keep the buses rolling.  But many commuters still saw significant delays.  On some lines, buses were running an hour or more behind.

   The transit agency and the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents the bus drivers have been locked in contract talks for months.  A spokesman for Local 788 tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that drivers weren't encouraged by the union to call in sick, but may have acted in frustration over the slow pace of contract talks.

 

Tuesday, 08 April 2014 03:27
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   Residents of the Santa Ana Apartments are still waiting to go home after a small fire last month caused the sprinkler system to flood the St. Ann high rise.  
   The building is undergoing restoration and electricians spent yesterday checking wiring and making repairs.
   St. Ann Mayor Michael Corcoran tells Fox 2 News that city inspections are underway, and he expects that to take at least another day. "Health wise, the facility is going to be clean," he said.  "There'll be nothing in the air, nothing will be airborne, asbestos, mold or anything like that.  The air has been tested."
   Mayor Corcoran says he understands the wait is frustrating for residents, but the city is doing everything as fast as it can to get them back home.  "Once the electricians sign off, and our inspectors sign off, they'll be able to start going back into their homes," he said.
   Many residents say they've been frustrated with the way the building's owners are handling things.  Some complain the no one from the Texas firm that owns the building has actually addressed them.  Others say it's not right that the residents have to rely on non-profit groups to survive while they wait to get back home.
   The Texas firm that owns the apartment building has been paying for many of the 160 displaced residents to stay at the nearby Super 8 Motel.  The American Red Cross has been helping out with food and other necessities.
 
 
 
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 03:18
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says his office has obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting a suburban St. Louis action house from doing business, citing complaints from dozens of customers about missed payments for auctioned items.
 
Koster announced the action Monday against Ivey-Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers, based in Clayton, Mo. The Attorney General's Office obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting the company from doing business. Koster says a civil petition filed Thursday accuses the auction house of unfair business practices and making false promises.
 
Messages left Monday with the company were not immediately returned.
 
Koster says that about 40 customers have complained to his office over the past several months, saying they were not paid for items the company auctioned on their behalf.
 
Monday, 07 April 2014 16:20
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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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