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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A study by a group of health organizations puts Illinois 32nd in spending tobacco-lawsuit money on smoking-prevention programs.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids looked at how the 50 states and District of Columbia have spent $116 billion in money so far from a landmark lawsuit against big tobacco companies in 1998.

The campaign and other anti-smoking groups want money spent on preventing young people from starting to smoke.

Between settlement money and tobacco taxes, Illinois is getting $1 billion this year. Just more than $11 million is going to tobacco-use-prevention. That's 7 percent of the $157 million federal health officials recommend spending.

Sen. Terry Link - a Waukegan Democrat - says work continues, such as with his bill that failed last year to make university campuses smoke-free.

 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:21
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CHICAGO (AP) - Federal officials say more than 7,000 Illinois residents signed up for insurance coverage in the first two months of the troubled HealthCare.gov website.

Enrollment figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show the pace picking up for President Barack Obama's new health insurance markets.

But the Illinois tally is still less than 30 percent of what federal officials originally projected the state's enrollment would be after two months. Illinois is relying on the federal website because the Legislature didn't approve a state-run marketplace

Consumers face a Dec. 23 enrollment deadline if they want to have coverage to start Jan. 1.

In October, when the website was barely working, only 1,370 Illinois residents managed to select a health insurance plan and enroll.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 13:18
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services reports 4,124 Missouri residents have selected a health insurance plan through the federally run online marketplace.

The department released the figures Wednesday. HHS said the insurance exchange had more than 31,000 applications from Missouri through Nov. 30. The applications sought coverage for nearly 63,000 people.

Enrollment is up from early November when just 751 Missourians had selected a health insurance plan. The federal health care law set up online marketplaces to help people find affordable insurance but the rollout of the website has been troubled.

The federal agency says that as of Nov. 30, about 137,000 people have enrolled in the 36 states served by the federal website.

 
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 13:16
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State Treasurer Clint Zweifel has announced a new program allowing Missourians to donate their Unclaimed Property to charity.

Treasurer Zweifel currently holds more than $810 million in Unclaimed Property belonging to 4.7 million account owners.

Under the new program, Missourians may choose from 20 charitable organizations in the state to which they may donate, part or all, of their Unclaimed Property. These organizations support vital medical research, children’s needs, military families and more.

Missouri is the second state in the nation to provide this option and provides the most charities from which account owners can choose.

"These charities provide invaluable services to the people of Missouri and now, with this program, we have created a simple way to give back to citizens in our state,” Treasurer Zweifel said. “This new program was created in response to requests from constituents to donate their Unclaimed Property. I am proud of the good it can do for our communities at no cost to taxpayers.”  

The average return on a claim is $300. Many accounts are worth just a few dollars, but those donations can add up quickly to make a big difference.

More than half of all account owners will be able to search for, claim and donate their Unclaimed Property entirely online.

The list of charities eligible to accept Unclaimed Property donations include: After-School Retreat Reading and Assessment Grant Program Fund, American Cancer Society Heartland Division, Inc., American Diabetes Association Gateway Area, American Heart Association, American Lung Association of Missouri, American Red Cross, ALS Association, Arthritis Foundation, Childhood Lead Testing Fund, Children’s Trust Fund, CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, Foster Care and Adoptive Parents Recruitment and Retention Fund, March of Dimes, Missouri Military Family Relief Fund, Missouri National Guard Trust, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Organ Donor Program Fund, Veterans Trust Fund, and Workers’ Memorial Fund.

Since January 2009, Treasurer Zweifel has returned $176 million to Unclaimed Property owners from more than 605,000 accounts.

Individuals may check for Unclaimed Property 24 hours-a-day, sign up for email alerts or email search results to family and friends at www.ShowMeMoney.com.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 11:35
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 AVA, Mo. (AP) - A southwest Missouri abbey famous for its Christmas fruitcakes was in danger of closing because the Trappist monks who live there are aging and no other monks have moved in to take their place.

But that will soon change, when four monks from Vietnam arrive to live at the Assumption Abbey in Ava. Four more are expected to arrive next year at the Abbey which is about four hours southeast of Kansas City.

The Kansas City Star reports that sometime in the next decade Assumption will change from the Trappist to Cistercian order. The Trappist order is a reform version of Cistercian.

The Vietnamese monks plan to carry on the tradition of making fruitcakes, which are sold across the country and help finance the Abbey.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 09:48
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 ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Art Museum's governing board has signed off on spending $825,000 for a 110-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright chandelier.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the purchase approved Monday will add the 1903 chandelier in brass, bronze and leaded glass to a Frank Lloyd Wright chair the museum already owns.

Museum curators call the chandelier purchase with private donations a "rare opportunity" and something that's "been top of our wish list forever."

The chandelier is one of two from the master bedroom of the Wright-designed Francis W. Little House in Peoria, Ill.

Wright, who died in 1959, designed 1,141 architectural works, including everything from houses to bridges and museums.

More than one-third of his buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places or are in a National Historic District.

 
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 08:31
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 CHICAGO (AP) - Find your zen air travelers: Chicago's O'Hare International Airport now has a yoga room.

The Chicago Department of Aviation announced Tuesday that the airport yoga room is open on the mezzanine level of the Terminal 3 rotunda at O'Hare.

The department also plans to open a yoga room at the city's Midway International Airport in the near future.

Aviation commissioner Rosemarie Andolino calls the yoga room an "oasis for passengers."

The 15-foot by 16-foot room has sustainable bamboo wood flooring, a wall of floor-to-ceiling mirrors and exercise mats.

One side of the room has frosted windows to let in natural light. There is a video monitor to play yoga techniques or nature images and audio plays soothing sounds.

The room is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 07:04
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   A Belleville woman will spend 60 years in prison for her role in the 2011 kidnapping and murder of an 85 year old grandmother as she left a Collinsville bingo game.  

   That was the sentence handed down to 40 year old LaTosha Cunningham Tuesday.  Prosecutors call her the ringleader in the murder of Yoko Cullen.  

   Authorities say Cullen was forced into the trunk of her own car, beaten with a tire iron and then burned alive.  

   Last month, 21 year old DaQuan Barnes was sentenced to 60-years without parole for the killing.  

   A third suspect, 30 year old Demarcus Barnes was found mentally unfit to stand trial. 

 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 04:44
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   A federal prisoner is back behind bars after mistakenly being released by St. Louis County authorities.  But it's still unclear who's responsible for the error.

   Twenty-nine-year-old Shawn Grider was on his way to federal prison to begin a decade-long sentence on drug and weapons violations, when he was brought to the St. Louis County Justice Center for questioning in a burglary. After investigators determined that Grider wasn't involved, he should have been handed over to U.S. Marshalls.  Instead, he was released.  

   Missouri Corrections officials told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that federal authorities had neglected to tell local jailers to hold Grider.  But the U.S. Marshall's office says it was state prison officials who were responsible for passing that information to the county.  

   Grider is back in custody because once freed, he reportedly visited his mother and then turned himself in. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 04:39
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