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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have convened a special session in Springfield, where they're expected to move ahead with plans to form a committee to deal with pensions.

Moving to committee requires a vote by both the House and Senate.

Gov. Pat Quinn met separately with Democratic and Republican legislative leaders Wednesday morning.

Republican House Leader Tom Cross says the governor wants to move ahead quickly so pension reform can be voted on by early July in another special session.

House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton each would get three appointees to the 10-member committee. Cross and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (rah-DOH'-nyoh) each would get two.

Illinois' $97 billion unfunded pension liability is the worst in the nation.

 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 15:03
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19-year-old Nicholas Lunceford is in custody connected to the murder a murder in the Village of Marlborough.

Police believe that Lunceford shot and killed 18-year-old Brandon Richards. Richards was found dead in his home on Monday afternoon. Charges could be filed later this afternoon.

 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 14:17
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis organization is getting a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide job training for inmates.

Federal officials on Wednesday announced $20 million in grants nationwide, including funding to the Fathers' Support Center of St. Louis.

The grants are part of the Training to Work-Adult Re-entry initiative. The goal is to provide work skills, education and support services to help soon-to-be released inmates find and keep jobs.

 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 14:11
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A one-time appellate court judge is being appointed to fill a vacant St. Clair County court position after the judge who once held the job resigned over drug charges.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports Republican Steven P. McGlynn was named to the post Wednesday, replacing Mike Cook.

Cook resigned in May after being charged with heroin and gun possession as part of a widening courthouse drug scandal.

He was charged in the case after the March death of colleague who died from a cocaine overdose at Cook's western Illinois hunting cabin.

McGlynn was appointed to the appellate court in 2005, but lost an election bid the next year. He was later appointed to the county circuit court following a retirement. He lost another judgeship election last year.

 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 13:46
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Customers in the Metro East are overpaying by $300 million dollars a year for their smartphone plans. The study was released by the Citizens Utility Board in cooperation with wireless research firm Vaildas.

Rajiv Ravulapati with Citizens Utility Board tell KTRS News that consumers may not want to switch from their current carrier, but that change could save a lot of money, "Consider prepaid plans, because they are getting more sophisticated these days. To the point where Boost Mobile, for example, offers a no-contract plan which offers unlimited talk, text, and data for $50 a month."

There are more tips on how to cut your cell phone and smartphone bill at CUBCellphonesaver.com.

 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 13:19
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A St. Louis woman has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal abuse charges for starving her two dogs to near death, then tossing one in a trash bin behind her home.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 22-year-old Cennitra Fowler pleaded guilty on Friday. As part of plea deal she was placed on probation for one year, ordered to perform 24 hours of community service, must take an animal care class, and must donate $75 to the Humane Society of Missouri. She is also prohibited from owning or caring for any pets during her probation.

 Fowler called the city about her dogs in October 2011, though it wasn't clear why. The dog thrown in the trash later died. The other dog ultimately recovered and was adopted.

 
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 10:19
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The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is expected to announce their Bomb and Arson Unit will merge with St. Louis County's Bomb and Arson Squad .

The proposed merger is just the latest in a series of moves that the region’s two largest departments have made in the name of saving money on equipment and personnel costs.

The St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners is expected to approve an agreement Wednesday morning at their meeting. 
 
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports the proposal calls for the county’s four Bomb and Arson detectives and one sergeant to move to the city’s downtown headquarters to work with the city’s four detectives and one sergeant.  The entire unit is to report to a city police captain and split their shifts between days and evenings. 
 
 
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 07:32
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St. Louis could be joining the likes of New York and Paris as the only cities in the world with an elevated greenway. The proposed project, discussed last night at a planning meeting, would be installed in north St. Louis along an abandoned elevated train rail near the McKinley Bridge to west of I-70. The old commuter train trestle was purchased by the Great Rivers Greenway District in 2004. The plan calls for gardens, bike and walking paths, a performing arts plaza, and sustainable watering systems. The tax payer-funded project is estimated to cost between $50 and $60 million dollars. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 07:40
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One person is dead and three others injured after a shooting in Berkeley yesterday on Tuesday. Police say it began about 2 p.m. as an argument between three people in a car and a man at the Madelaine Manor apartment complex. That argument escalated. Shots were fired and all four people were hit.  The three victims in the car tried to drive to the hospital, but were pulled over by police on McDonnell Boulevard near Boeing.   All four victims were taken to the hospital in serious condition.  One later died.  Berkeley Police Chief Frank McCall, Junior says charges are expected against the three survivors.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 06:32
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   Local leaders have put out the call to those in need and to those who can help. Cool Down St. Louis and Ameren kicked off their annual summer program to keep elderly and disabled St. Louisans safe from the deadly heat.

   Ameren donated the first 240 air conditioners with the hope that more units will be donated and more money raised to assist the most vulnerable members of the community.

   St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says donations are critical to this program's success.  "It is important to note that eventually, all the funds will be exhausted this year," Slay said.  "And remind you that 100 percent of proceeds, 100 percent of private donations go directly to helping someone in need. There are no administrative costs that come out of our donations."  

   For more information about donating an air conditioning unit or giving a monetary donation, log on to  CoolDownStLouis.org.

 
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 06:02
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