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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A bipartisan group of Illinois lawmakers tasked with pension reform will meet in Springfield on the day before a special legislative session is convened.

   Senate Democrats say the 10-member committee will meet Monday. The House and Senate are scheduled to convene Tuesday to consider Gov. Pat Quinn's amendatory veto on concealed carry legislation.

   While Quinn originally called the Legislature back July 9 to deal with pensions, it is unlikely the issue will be voted on by that deadline.

   Committee members met last week in a grueling five-hour public session where little was resolved. They are scheduled to meet again Wednesday.  Members say they are hopeful progress is being made, but legislation has yet to be drafted.

   Illinois' worst-in-the-nation unfunded pension liability hovers around $100 billion.

 
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 03:25
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   A Missouri company expects to get the go ahead to slaughter horses after an Iowa company garnered federal approval yesterday.  USDA officials say Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Missouri could get permission later this week.

   The facility 75 miles north of Kansas City has the current capacity to slaughter 30 horses a week.  

   In 2005, the U.S. Congress effectively ban horse slaughter when it eliminated funding for USDA inspections.  The funding prohibition expired in 2011, effectively lifting the ban.

Wednesday, 03 July 2013 03:12
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The National Rifle Association's Illinois lobbyist is predicting an easy legislative override of Gov. Pat Quinn's gun-carry veto.

Todd Vandermyde says the Democratic governor's suggested changes to concealed carry legislation are too late. He says lawmakers settled the issues Quinn raised and adopted the plan with overwhelming majorities.

A federal appeals court ruling requires a law by July 9 allowing Illinois residents to publicly possess concealed guns. The Legislature sent Quinn a plan last month.

Quinn used amendatory veto authority Tuesday to ban guns from any establishment serving alcohol and to limit gun owners to carrying one weapon at a time.

But Vandermyde says negotiators on all sides in the General Assembly discussed the changes and "the governor's people were never really part of it."

 
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 17:25
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A North St. Louis County man is facing charges for a weekend murder.

Police say 25-year-old Cameron Reed shot and killed O'Neal Stafford early Sunday morning. Investigators say the shooting stemmed from an argument between the two. Police say Reed confessed to the crime after he was arrested on Monday.

 

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 17:20
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A bankrupt coal producer says it has imposed wage and benefit cuts affecting thousands of its workers, but that the pullbacks are less severe than those authorized by a judge.

But St. Louis-based Patriot Coal Corp. added Tuesday that it will keep retiree health care benefits unchanged for the next two months.

Patriot didn't detail the cuts it has adopted, more than a month after a bankruptcy judge empowered Patriot to abandon its collective-bargaining agreements.

Patriot says its continued bargaining with the United Mine Workers of America union has produced "substantial progress."

A spokesman for the union isn't talking publicly about Patriot's cuts imposed Monday, saying only that the union is still meeting with the company to make further improvements over the bankruptcy court's order.

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 17:18
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After lunch tomorrow, customers of six area Qdoba restaurants will have to fund another place to eat.

The Mexican restaurant chain will be permanently closing six restaurants Wednesday at 3 PM. The closures include restaurants at Mid Rivers Mall, Wentzville, Euclid Ave, Olive at Mason Road, Washington, and Fairview Heights locations.

A Qdoba spokesperson says several other metro locations will remain open.

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 17:18
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   The search for a northern Illinois man and his teenage son who disappeared on the Meramec River will resume after sunrise Wednesday.  

   St. Louis County Police say the man's wife reported the pair missing early Tuesday afternoon.  She told police she'd last seen her husband, 36 year old Mike Hill and her 16 year old son David near the Pacific Palisades launch two hours before.  They had been gathering up fishing gear.  

   Police say there's been no sign of them or their fishing gear and so far, they have found nothing to indicate that the pair has drowned.

 

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 16:40
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The economic progress continues in St. Charles County with today's announcement that the Family Arena has landed a new tenant. The St. Charles Chill will open its inaugural season in the Central Hockey League in mid-October. Mark Reifsteck is the General Manager for the Arena and he says sports teams give the facility a solid financial base of operations. 

"We've added in the last probably four months 63 event dates with the Monsters, the Ambush and now the Chill, so that's a lot. It's good", says Reifsteck.

The Chill faces off October 15th. Their first opponent has not been announced. The team will be coached by former St. Louis Blues defenseman Jamie Rivers.

 

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 16:34
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A trial date is set for the O'Fallon, Missouri man accused of killing a Caruthersville police officer.

The trial of 31-year-old Deonta Williamson will start January 27. Prosecutors say Williamson first tried to set his stepfather on fire and burn down his home in O'Fallon. Hours later Police saw the suspect driving a stolen SUV on Missouri 84 in the bootheel. Officers set up spike strips to stop Williamson, but he rammed a police cruiser. The collision killed officer Evan Burns.

In addition to the first-degree murder charge, Williamson faces assault, arson and armed criminal action charges from the O’Fallon incident.

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 16:32
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Unemployment is trending down in the St. Louis area.

The unemployment rate in the metro area sits at 7% in May--that is down from the level last year. The local unemployment rate is also lower than the national level of 7.3 percent.

The St. Louis workforce now sits just a bit above 1.3 million.

 

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 15:00
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