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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Health care advocates are making an extra push to get people signed up for insurance through a federal website before a March 31 deadline.
   The Cover Missouri Coalition says about 40 enrollment events are planned Saturday around the state, including some featuring live music, free food and advice from tax preparers. Dozens of additional events are planned in the coming days.
   The coalition also will be running new online and radio advertisements between now and the end of the month.
   People who don't have insurance by March 31 could face tax penalties under the terms of President Barack Obama's health care law.
   The Missouri Foundation for Health says about 68,000 Missouri residents had enrolled in health plans through the federally run online marketplace as of last month.
Friday, 07 March 2014 14:58
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The U.S. government is consolidating Veterans Affairs operations in the St. Louis area, meaning more than 800 jobs will be moving out of downtown St. Louis and to St. Louis County.
 
   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 640 VA employees will leave a building on South 18th Street, and 180 more will move from the Robert A. Young Federal Building downtown. All will be relocated to Overland in St. Louis County.
 
   Jason Klumb of the General Services Administration's regional office in Kansas City says the relocation is occurring as part of the government's preference to put employees in GSA-owned buildings.
Friday, 07 March 2014 14:57
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WELLSTON, Mo. (AP) - The Normandy School District has gone through a difficult year and is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. But a high school chorale group is excelling, earning a trip to Carnegie Hall.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Normandy High School Chorale boarded a plane Friday for New York, where they'll join other top high school choirs from around the country for a performance Sunday night.
 
The school district in St. Louis County is unaccredited. A Missouri Supreme Court ruling last summer paved the way for hundreds of Normandy students to transfer to better-performing schools, at the district's cost.
 
The district couldn't afford to send the chorale group to New York, but a nonprofit group called Beyond Housing helped generate $16,000 from private donors.
Friday, 07 March 2014 14:56
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A lawsuit challenging Illinois' caps on political donations is unlikely to be resolved before the 2014 elections.
 
That means limits put in place after Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment will probably remain in place for the rest of this election season.
 
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports that a federal judge this week dismissed most of the challenges brought by the Liberty Justice Center.
 
The judge kept one element of it alive for debate, but an attorney for the Chicago-based group says it will take months to play out.
 
As a result, attorney Jacob Huebert says it's unlikely it will be settled by November.
 
The group argues the donation limits in the 2009 law are unconstitutional because contributions from legislative leaders are not capped in general elections.
 
Friday, 07 March 2014 11:48
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   A suspect is now in custody in connection with threats made Thursday caused officials to place two Granite City schools on lock down.  
   Police say around 3:24 p.m. they received information that a suspect had made a specific threat to the Coolidge Middle School. Officers met with school officials and placed the school on a lockdown.  Granite City High School was also placed on lockdown as a precaution.
   Once investigators determined that the call wasn't in the vicinity of the schools, the lockdowns were lifted and students were allowed to go home.
   Assistant Granite City Police Chief Major Jeff Connor says a 55 year old man was tracked to a local bar where he was arrested without incident.
   The case will be presented to the Madison County States Attorney Friday for possible charges.
 
Friday, 07 March 2014 03:30
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   CAHOKIA, Ill. (AP) - A group is closing out its public comment period on a push to get an ancient metro-east historical site designated as a national park.
   The Belleville News-Democrat reports the Heartlands Conservancy will hold its last public hearing on March 19 at the Cahokia Mounds Interpretive Center.
   Those behind the push believe that by seeking national recognition, Cahokia Mounds could bring additional regional tourism, jobs and money. The conservancy has been working for more than a year with Native American tribes, government agencies and nonprofits on a feasibility study.
   Cahokia is believed to have been inhabited from 700 to 1400 A.D., and it was among the most complex societies of prehistoric North America. The 2,200-acre property is designated by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site.
 
Friday, 07 March 2014 03:26
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   The man who shot and paralyzed a Florissant police officer in 2012 could spend decades behind bars.  
   Twenty-two year old Brian Cannon was found guilty Thursday of shooting former police officer Mike Vernon.  The attack left Vernon paralyzed from the waist down and ended his police career.  
   Cannon admitted on the stand he had been running from police and hid in a dumpster.  Vernon and other officers had been searching for him.  When  Vernon walked by the trash bin, Cannon shot him.  
   Vernon spoke with Fox 2 News about the guilty verdict.  "I want him to sit in a cell and always wonder," Vernon said.  "I was never going to open that trash can. I was going to go back in my car and drive away and we probably wouldn't be having this conversation." 
   St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, the son of a police officer killed in the line of duty, personally handled the case.
   Sentencing is set for April 11.
 
Friday, 07 March 2014 03:19
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