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 CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - For the first time in more than a decade, bars in downtown Carbondale will be allowed to open on Halloween.

   City Council members voted 4-2 on Tuesday to let bars in an area known as "The Strip" operate this year. City officials say they'll allow the bars to open for business as part of a one-year experiment.

   The bars have had to shut down for the past 12 years after rioting and vandalism in the college town in far-southern Illinois.

   Councilwoman Jane Adams says she supports the change, which will allow three bars to operate.

   She says the new regulations won't lead to a "street party."

   But Mayor Joel Fritzler voted against the move. He says any Halloween mayhem could hamper development.

 
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 07:03
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NEW YORK (AP) -- One by one they came out of the bullpen, hard throwers on a mission to shut down many of baseball's top hitters.

Max Scherzer and Chris Sale. Felix Hernandez and Matt Moore.

Heat and more heat.

Even with its own studs such as Matt Harvey and Clayton Kershaw, the National League couldn't match up. The AL's 3-0 victory at Citi Field on Tuesday night was an arms showcase.

"We all came tonight and we brought it," Scherzer said. "You got guys who just can absolutely light up a radar gun, but not only that, throw multiple offspeed pitches for strikes."

It was just the third shutout for the AL, following 1946 at Boston's Fenway Park and 1990 at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

Scherzer, throwing at up to 99 mph, pitched a 1-2-3 first. Sale followed with a pair of perfect innings, reaching 96 mph.

Six up. Six down.

Against baseball's best.

"I don't think I've been a part of a baseball experience like that in my entire life," Sale said.

The rest weren't shabby either, with Greg Holland topping out at 97 and Grant Balfour at 95. Matt Moore, Steve Delabar and Joe Nathan all reached 94, Brett Cecil 93 and Felix Hernandez 92, throwing sinkers on nine of 13 pitches.

Mariano Rivera threw 16 pitches, all cutters ranging from 89-91, in a perfect eighth remembered for his introduction, when the other All-Stars left the field to him alone during a 1 1-2 minute ovation.

The NL managed three hits and one walk for four baserunners in all. And these weren't just any batters, but All-Star sluggers with shining colored spikes and enough honors to fill two dozen trophy dens.

"It's not fun," said David Wright of the host New York Mets. "You think of the broad spectrum of being an All-Star and it gets you excited. And then when you get down to the nitty-gritty and you look in there and you've got to face those pitchers, it's like, `OK, maybe this isn't as fun as I thought it was going to be.' Every guy comes in throwing high 90s with good secondary pitches. And this is difficult."

Carlos Beltran's one-out single to left-center in the fourth against King Felix gave the NL its first baserunner, and pinch runner Andrew McCutchen was stranded on third base when Wright grounded out.

Hernandez isn't used to warming up in the middle of a game.

"It was pretty weird. I don't feel that comfortable that way," he said.

Michael Cuddyer reached on a leadoff walk against Balfour in the sixth, Wright singled softly to center against Greg Holland in the seventh and Paul Goldschmidt doubled to deep right off Nathan in the ninth.

"That's a good lineup we threw out there, a lot of great hitters," NL manager Bruce Bochy said. "They shut us down."

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Wednesday, 17 July 2013 07:06
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — In one of the most harrowing spacewalks in decades, an astronaut had to rush back into the International Space Station on Tuesday after a mysterious water leak inside his helmet robbed him of the ability to speak or hear at times and could have caused him to choke or even drown.

Italian Luca Parmitano was reported to be fine after the dangerous episode, which might have been caused by an unprecedented leak in the cooling system of his suit. His spacewalking partner, American Christopher Cassidy, had to help him head inside after NASA quickly aborted the spacewalk.

No one — neither the astronauts in orbit nor flight controllers in Houston — breathed easier until Parmitano was back inside and his helmet was yanked off.

"He looks miserable. But OK," Cassidy assured everyone.

It was the first time in years that a spacewalk came to such an abrupt halt and the first time since NASA's Gemini program in the mid-1960s that a spacewalker became so incapacitated. Spacewalking always carries high risk; a puncture by a micrometeorite or sharp edge, if big enough, could result in instant death.

In a late afternoon news conference, NASA acknowledged the perilous situation that Parmitano had found himself in, and space station operations manager Kenneth Todd promised to "turn over every rock" to make sure it never happens again.

Spacewalking is dangerous already, noted flight director David Korth. Then on top of that, "go stick your head in a fishbowl and try to walk around. That's not anything that you take lightly," he said. "He did a great job of just keeping calm and cool" as the amount of water ominously increased.

"Grace under pressure," Korth said.

The two astronauts were outside barely an hour, performing routine cable work on their second spacewalk in eight days, when Parmitano reported the leak. It progressively worsened as the minutes ticked by, drenching the back of his head, then his eyes, nose and, finally, mouth by the time he was in the air lock, the pressure chamber. He could have choked or drowned on the floating globs of water, NASA officials said.

Between 1 and 1½ liters of water leaked into his helmet and suit, NASA estimated.

The source of the leak wasn't immediately known, but the main culprit appeared to be iodine-laced water that is piped through the long underwear worn under a spacesuit, for cooling. The system holds nearly 4 liters, or 1 gallon. Less likely was the 32-ounce (about 1 liter) drink bag that astronauts sip from during lengthy spacewalks; Parmitano reported the leaking water tasted odd.

At first, Parmitano, 36, a former test pilot and Italy's first spacewalker, thought it was sweat accumulating on the back of his bald head. But he was repeatedly assured it was not sweat. He agreed. "How much can I sweat?" he wondered aloud.

It was only his second spacewalk; his first was last Tuesday, six weeks after moving into the space station.

The water eventually got into Parmitano's eyes. That's when NASA ordered the two men back inside. Then the water drenched his nose and mouth, and he had trouble hearing on the radio lines.

Cassidy quickly cleaned up the work site, then joined Parmitano in the air lock.

The three Russians and one American who anxiously monitored the drama from inside hustled to remove Parmitano's helmet. They clustered around him, eight hands pulling off his helmet and using towels to mop his head. Balls of water floated away.

Parmitano blinked hard several times but otherwise looked fine as he gestured with his hands to show his crewmates where the water had crept around his head.

Cassidy told Mission Control: "To him, the water clearly did not taste like our normal drinking water." A smiling Parmitano then chimed in: "Just so you know, I'm alive and I can answer those questions, too."

He later tweeted: "Thanks for all the positive thoughts!"

Mission Control praised the crew for its fast effort and hooked them up with flight surgeons on the ground.

Parmitano used the same suit during last week's spacewalk without any problems. Before the gush of water made its way into his helmet, the astronaut reported a bad sensor for measuring carbon dioxide in his suit. NASA managers concluded the sensor likely failed due to all the water.

Spare spacesuits and equipment are on board for future NASA spacewalks.

The four remaining spacewalks planned for this year involve Russian astronauts wearing Russian suits, different than the U.S. models. They're preparing for the arrival later this year of a new Russian lab. The year's previous four spacewalks encountered no major snags. This was the 171st spacewalk in the 15-year history of the orbiting outpost.

There was no immediate word on when Tuesday's undone tasks might be attempted again. None of the chores was urgent, simply things that had piled up over the past couple years.

It was the fastest end to a spacewalk since 2004 when Russian and American spacewalkers were ordered back in by Mission Control outside Moscow because of spacesuit trouble. That spacewalk lasted a mere 14 minutes. Tuesday's spacewalk lasted one hour and 32 minutes.

During NASA's old shuttle program, spacewalks occasionally were stymied by stuck hatches and ripped gloves. By coincidence, Cassidy had to end a 2009 station-building spacewalk early because of a potentially dangerous buildup of carbon dioxide in his suit. This marked the sixth spacewalk for the 43-year-old former Navy SEAL, who's midway through a half-year station stint.

In 1966, two Gemini flights ended up with aborted spacewalks. Gemini 11 spacewalker Richard Gordon, was blinded by sweat. Gemini 9 spacewalker Gene Cernan breathed so heavily and sweated so much that fog collected inside his helmet visor and froze.

On the Russian side, the world's first spacewalker, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, could barely get back into his spacecraft in 1965. He had to vent precious oxygen from his suit in order to fit through the hatch. Decades passed before his peril came to light.

"Today was certainly a very serious issue," said Karina Eversley, lead spacewalk officer. The goal, each time, is to get the crew back inside "before things get too serious," she added.

In that respect, Tuesday was a success, Todd noted. "Today the team did a great job."

___ Online: NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate stepped away from the brink of a meltdown on Tuesday, clearing the way for confirmation of one of President Barack Obama's nominees long blocked by Republicans, nearing a deal to fill several other vacancies and finessing a Democratic threat to overturn historic rules that protect minority-party rights.

"Nobody wants to come to Armageddon here," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat whose talks with Arizona Republican John McCain were critical in avoiding a collision that had threatened to plunge the Senate even deeper into partisan gridlock.

McCain, a veteran of uncounted legislation struggles, told reporters that forging the deal was "probably the hardest thing I've been involved in."

There was no immediate response from the White House, although Democratic senators said the terms of the compromise were acceptable to the administration.

Under the agreement, which both sides were reviewing at midday, several of seven stalled nominees would win confirmation quickly, including Labor Secretary-designate Tom Perez; Gina McCarthy, named to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, and Fred Hochberg to head of the Export-Import Bank.

Even before the agreement was ratified by the rank and file, Richard Cordray's long-stalled nomination to head the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau advanced toward approval on a test vote of 71-29, far more than the 60 required.

Two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, Richard Griffin and Sharon Clark, were to be replaced by new selections, expected to be submitted by President Barack Obama later Tuesday and steered toward speedy consideration by Senate Republicans. Obama installed Griffin and Clark in their posts by recess appointments in 2011, bypassing the Senate but triggering a legal challenge. An appeals court recently said the two appointments were invalid, and the Supreme Court has agreed to review the case.

The seventh nomination at issue, Mark Pearce's selection to a new term as NLRB chairman, was relatively uncontroversial, and is likely to be approved along with the replacements for Griffin and Clark.

"I think we get what we want, they get what they want. Not a bad deal," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

There was more to it than that.

Scarcely 24 hours earlier, Reid had insisted that if Republicans didn't stop blocking confirmation of all seven, he would trigger a change in the Senate's procedures to strip them of their ability to delay. At the core of the dispute is the minority party's power to stall or block a yes-or-no vote on nearly anything, from legislation to judicial appointments to relatively routine nominations for administration positions.

While a simple majority vote is required to confirm presidential appointees, it takes 60 votes to end delaying tactics and proceed to a yes-or-no vote. Reid's threat to remove that right as it applied to nominations to administration positions was invariably described as the "nuclear option" for its likely impact on an institution with minority rights woven into its fabric.

The same term was used when Republicans made a similar threat on judicial nominations in 2005 — an earlier showdown that McCain helped defuse when it was his own party threatening to change the rules unilaterally.

As part of the deal over Obama's nominees, Republicans agreed to step aside and permit confirmation of several, some of whom they had long stalled. Cordray was first appointed in July 2011, but a vote was held up by GOP lawmakers who sought to use his confirmation as leverage to make changes in the legislation that created his agency.

McCarthy was named to her post in March, and Republicans dragged their feet, demanding she answer hundreds of questions about the EPA. At one point, they boycotted a committee meeting called to approve her appointment.

Perez, also nominated in March, is a senior Justice Department official, and was accused by Republicans of making decisions guided by left-wing ideology rather than the pursuit of justice.

As described by officials, the deal is strikingly similar to a proposal that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell floated in remarks on the Senate floor last week during an unusually personal exchange with Reid. At the time, the Kentucky Republican also said he had told Obama last January to drop his hopes of confirmation for Griffin and Clark and instead name two replacements. He relayed the same message again last month to Vice President Joe Biden, a former senator with whom he has a long relationship.

Tuesday's developments unfolded the morning after a closed-door meeting of nearly all 100 senators, many of them eager to avoid a rules change that could poison relations between the two parties at a time the Senate is struggling in an era of chronic gridlock. About three dozen lawmakers spoke in the course of a session that lasted more than three hours, and while few details have emerged, several participants said later it had been a productive meeting.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she had urged others to "look ahead and think about the time when we would have a Republican president with Republican Senate and there could be someone appointed who was completely unacceptable to my Democratic colleagues and was nominated to run their favorite program" She said she asked if they "really want to give away their right to filibuster that individual."

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said the sense of history hung over the meeting, which was held in the Old Senate Chamber, where lawmakers had debated slavery and other great national issues for much of the 19th century. "Senator McCain talked about Webster, Jefferson and Madison. We knew that we were on sacred political ground," he said.

McCain told reporters that with McConnell's knowledge, he had been involved in talks for several days in search of a compromise, speaking with Biden, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and numerous senators.

"At least 10 times it came together, and then fell apart because there's always some new wrinkle," he said.

___ Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Charles Babington, Donna Cassata, Josh Lederman and Sam Hananel contributed to this story
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